A whale watch boat spotted a 4-year-old male right whale entangled and injured off Sea Bright, New Jersey on October 11. Researchers identified the whale as #4680, the calf of 19-year-old Dragon (#3180), who was last seen in February off Nantucket, entangled and with a buoy lodged in her mouth. She is now presumed dead. NOAA is currently developing a plan to disentangle her calf, who has not been seen since, although his injuries are likely fatal.
On October 19, an 11-year-old male right whale known as Cottontail was spotted with a line wrapped tightly around his head off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, during an aerial survey. The Marine Entanglement Response Team removed some of the gear and attached a satellite tracking buoy to monitor his location. Veterinarians and biologists from the International Fund for Animal Welfare have also been called upon to provide veterinary support through the ongoing disentanglement effort.
Right whales are threatened by entanglement every day, as evidenced by two members of the same family becoming severely entangled. Boat strikes are also pushing them towards extinction. The Humane Society of the United States is urging Congress to pass the SAVE Right Whales Act, which would authorize $5 million per year for the next decade devoted towards research about fishing and shipping technologies that are safer for right whales.