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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species, with only about 400 animals remaining. Their safety is important to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists who recently captured amazing aerial video of a mother and her calf interacting with some curious dolphins.

NOAA says it is working with its partners to solve this urgent conservation challenge in order to ensure their survival.

Part of that work includes conducting annual aerial surveys to assess their population and document new calves.

“We are really excited about seeing seven right whale calves so far this season, especially after not seeing any last year,” said Barb Zoodsma, Southeast U.S. Right Whale Recovery Program Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries. “The news is encouraging, but we remain cautiously optimistic. The North Atlantic right whale is a critically endangered species so we still have a long way to go.”

This video, taken off the southeast coast of the U.S. in February, was taken using an unmanned aerial vehicle under a special research permit under the direction of a trained scientific observer.



The video and NOAA’s message behind it is important as well because it is a reminder that right whales need their space and many times, people simply get too close. Anyone who comes across a North Atlantic right whale needs to stay back 500 yards because it is the law. (500 yards is the length of five football fields.)

This time of year, right whale moms are nursing their calves. The quiet bonding time is important for the newborn whales. It can also be dangerous for both right whales and people to get too close to each other, according to NOAA.

So if you find yourself within 500 yards of a right whale, move away as soon as safely possible. If you see a right whale in the wild call NOAA at (877) WHALE-HELP.