Conservation group calls death of right whale in Gulf of St. Lawrence 'devastating'

The head of a wildlife protection group is calling news of a dead right whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence devastating, saying the loss of even one of the endangered whales takes a heavy toll.

Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society commented today after a surveillance flight spotted a dead right whale in the gulf Tuesday.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is working with a number of agencies in an effort to track the animal and get the carcass to shore.

Wimmer says the whale has been identified as a nine-year-old male named Wolverine, but a necropsy will be needed to learn how it died.

No right whales died in Canadian waters last year, but 12 were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017. Most of the deaths were attributed to being struck by ships or becoming entangled in fishing gear.

There are estimated to be fewer than 420 of the North Atlantic right whales left, with deaths outpacing live births.