Researchers hope some North Atlantic right whale calves could still show up

A marine biologist says critically endangered North Atlantic right whales could be having their calves in areas not yet known to science.

Charles ``Stormy'' Mayo of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, says it's possible calves could still turn up if they were born in an area experts are not yet aware of.

The suggestion gives hope to scientists who have not spotted a single young whale in their traditional calving grounds off the southeast U-S this season as it comes to an end.

It would be the first time since the 1980s that no calves have been seen by crews doing aerial and water-based surveys _ an ominous development for the species that saw 18 killed in U-S and Canadian waters last year.

Mayo says three calves were spotted in their usual calving grounds off Georgia and Florida last year, but five later appeared in Cape Cod Bay, suggesting there is another area where females could be having their babies.

Mayo says his crews will continue surveying Cape Cod Bay, where many of the world's remaining 450 whales tend to gather in May as they head north to Canadian waters to feed.