It feels like a death in the family.
The New England Aquarium Right Whale Research Program has just released confirmation of the death of the 13th right whale this season.
Couplet, right whale #2123, was found on Monday, east of Cape Cod.
It has been a catastrophic summer for these magnificent whales who make their home up and down the east coast, including the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy, The loss of 13 individuals in this group is equal to nearly 3% of the entire North Atlantic population - gone forever.
As many as 15 deaths may have occurred, with reports of two other right whale bodies whose sightings at the moment cannot confirm if they are among the 13, or if, in fact, they are two additional mortalities.
As tragic as this is, there is nothing we can do for Couplet now – she is gone.
But what we can do is build a fortress around the calves she raised and her remaining kin. We are in the midst of a make-or-break court challenge to do just that.
These whales face unrelenting threats that are killing them – ship strikes, entanglements, the threat of seismic blasting in their waters, and the looming reckless proposals to drill for oil and gas in their sanctuaries. Our court challenge will be critical to alleviating some of the burden of these threats, and we are in this to win - in their name.
Right now, they need heroes and angels. No other factor will save the remaining North Atlantic right whales. It’s you, it’s me, it's all of us.
Thank you for continuing to demand protection for one of the planet’s most endangered species. Thank you for funding our immediate challenging work in the courts to protect the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its precious marine residents.
Thank you for standing with whales like Couplet who urgently require protection.