July 8 (UPI) — More than 1 percent of the global population of the North Atlantic right whale has been found dead near Canada in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since the beginning of June.
Early findings from necropsies done on three of the seven dead whales showed all may have died from human encounters: Two possibly collided with boats and another was seriously entangled in fishing equipment, The Guardian reported. At least two of the dead whales were female.
Canada’s Marine Animal Response Society confirmed the seventh whale death in a Facebook post Thursday.
The species is considered endangered and has a population of about 525. The whales primarily live along the eastern coast of Canada and the United States.
“This is, I think, the largest die-off they’ve ever had for this particularly species, at once,” Tonya Wimmer, a member of the response society, told the Guardian.
The gulf has become an increasingly common habitat for the whales, which has led to more interactions between the animals and humans.