The most endangered of all the world’s whale species, the northern right whale (Eubalena glacialis) numbers around 350 individuals that travel the Atlantic coasts of Canada and the US. During the whaling days of the 19th century, the right whale got its name because whalers considered it the “right” whale to kill, as it not only was full of valuable whale oil, but it floated after it was dead, which made it easy to handle and process. As a result, it was driven to near extinction. Although the right whale is now protected, its small remnant population continues to suffer losses due to entanglements in commercial fishing gear: Whales drown after becoming wrapped in nets, lines and other equipment. Global climate change, which can affect the availability of the tiny crustaceans on which right whales feed, may prove to be another serious threat to their recovery.
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