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Hopes rise after critically endangered whales produce more calves than in recent years

Critically endangered North Atlantic right whales gave birth to the largest number of calves in six years, offering a glimmer of hope for a population that has been driven to the verge of extinction because of entanglements with fishing gear and collisions with ships.

Aerial survey teams along the U.S. East Coast spotted 17 right whale calves swimming with their mothers offshore between Florida and North Carolina from December through March, the Associated Press reported.That number equals the total of right whale calves born in the three previous years combined and represents the highest number of births since 2015. In recent decades, North American right whale populations have dropped to an estimated 360 animals; three years ago, the population produced no calves at all.

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