Scientists and conservationists are celebrating the rare sighting of a North Pacific Right Whale on British Columbia’s coast.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada researchers spotted the whale, part of a population listed as critically endangered, off the west coast of Haida Gwaii this week.
Cetacean research technician Jared Towers posted about the sighting on Facebook, saying the “massive creature” was spotted with just one day left in a two-week excursion.
“The images and samples we collected (under CRP permit) will tell us if it has been seen before in Russia or Alaska, what sex it is (and if female, whether or not it was pregnant) as well as what species of copepod it was feeding on,” he wrote.
“It’s been over a century since most of this whale’s ancestors were all harpooned but right whales in the North Pacific are still near the brink of extinction.”
It is just the fourth time a North Pacific Right Whale has been spotted in Canadian waters in seven decades.
It’s believed that fewer than 250 of the animals may remain.