FLAGLER BEACH – An exciting development for local conservationists went down Monday, as a pair of right whales made an appearance off the coast of Flagler Beach. It appeared to have been a mother and calf. The all-day sighting drew observers from all over the area, crowding the beach looking for a glimpse at the sixth largest animal on planet Earth.
Right whale sightings in Flagler Beach aren’t unusual but they don’t happen every day. Many residents go decades without seeing a whale with their own eyes, but the whales are known to pass the Atlantic coast of Florida in their seasonal migrations. Multiple signs are erected near the beach informing residents and tourists how to identify a right whale in the wild.
The mother whale is believed to be Archipelago, a whale known to have produced at least three calves in her life. It’s not currently known for sure whether this calf was the previously identified third calf, or whether Archipelago has produced a fourth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been contacted for more information.
The whales first appeared at the northernmost tip of the county, passing by Marineland in the morning. By early afternoon, they made their way past downtown Flagler Beach and toward Volusia County. They were observed spraying vapor into the ocean air, as well as holding their caudal and pectoral fins above the surface, in a sort of wave to the hordes who’d gathered for a look.
The North Atlantic right whale is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with less than 350 individuals believed to remain according to the NOAA. Extinction is a possibility in the near future for the species, with primary threats including climate change and boat strikes. Laws have been passed to try and curb dangerous human interactions with right whales, and drone photography of the whales is banned without a specific research permit. At least one drone was dispatched over Flagler Beach’s two whales on Monday, with photos circulating on social media.
January 10, 2023 at 10:36 pm
thank you for the information