By Staff

WELLFLEET (CBS) — Scientists made a “very lucky” find to kick off whale season recently.

Two researchers from the Center for Coastal Studies got a good look at a critically endangered juvenile North Atlantic right whale in Cape Cod Bay, the first sighting of the season. The 2019 calf was spotted in late December off the coast of Wellfleet.

There are only 336 North Atlantic right whales known to be left in the world. Most of them typically come to Cape Cod Bay in winter and spring to feed on zooplankton.

The right whale calf in Cape Cod Bay (Credit: Center for Coastal Studies image taken under NOAA permit #25740)

“We know right whales are here in most years in December, but we got very lucky to see one already skim‐feeding this time of year,” scientist Christy Hudak said in a statement. “When they arrive in fall and winter months, they tend to be much morecryptic, with long dive times.”

Center for Coastal Studies researchers will be out looking for whales for the next five months, with a close eye on how many calves will be born this year. Staff