Southern Right Whales

right whale

Photo: Mariano Sironi


Southern right whales are suffering from an unprecedented mortality event in Península Valdés, Argentina, although populations as a whole have been in slow recovery since the whaling days. Over the course of 2012, 116 dead southern right whales were discovered in the local breeding area. This is the highest number of dead whales ever recorded in one season for this species.

Long-term monitoring has helped researchers assess the current situation. Despite ongoing research by the Southern Right Whale Health Monitoring Program, the cause for the spike in mortalities remains a mystery. Scientists are focusing on kelp gull attacks that may influence whale deaths, along with other potential causes like nutritional deficiencies, infectious diseases, and biotoxins.

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