There may be six more weeks of winter after the ground hogs saw their shadows today but the good news is that the number of calves has grown to 29 not counting the neonate that died off the coast of North Carolina in early December.
Baldy's family keeps growing with a new great grand calf to grand daughter 2503 or Boomerang, daughter of 1503 who is also a mom this winter. And of course, Baldy is also a mother, three generations with new calves. This brings Baldy's known family to 8 calves, 9 grand calves and 2 great grand calves.
Another bit of great news is that Kleenex has been seen with a new calf. She hasn't been photographed since 2004 when she had her last calf. This is unusual for Kleenex who prior to this had been regularly seen along the east coast. Who knows what exotic places she has been during this time. This brings the number of calves to eight that we know Kleenex has had. Kleenex family is also noteworthy because of a genetic mutation that has occurred in one of her calves, the first recorded for right whales.
The sad news last week was the death of a two year old male right whale who live stranded in North Carolina. The whale was very ill and was on the beach for several days before the whale was euthanized. A necropsy (dissection) was performed and the cause of the illness is being investigated. To see photos of the stranded whale and watch a news video from WNC local news click here.