North Atlantic right whale deaths puzzle scientists

North American conservationists are scrambling to find out why North Atlantic right whales are dying in unprecedented numbers, with nine deaths in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence in two months, according to Canadian authorities.

The nine deaths make 2017 the deadliest year for the endangered marine mammal since scientists began tracking their numbers in the 1980s, said Kim Davies, a Dalhousie University post-doctoral fellow who is pioneering a way to track their activity in real time.

There are only about 500 North Atlantic right whales left in the world.

North American conservationists are scrambling to find out why North Atlantic right whales are dying in unprecedented numbers, with nine deaths in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence in two months, according to Canadian authorities. A right whale is pictured 

North American conservationists are scrambling to find out why North Atlantic right whales are dying in unprecedented numbers, with nine deaths in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence in two months, according to Canadian authorities. A right whale is pictured 

THE NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE 

North Atlantic right whales are characterized by a ‘stocky’ black body and the lack of a dorsal fin, along with raised patches known as callosities.

These can be found on their head, and often appear white because of ‘whale lice,’ according to NOAA.

They can live more than 70 years, and weigh roughly 158,000lbs.

Adults can grow to about 50 feet, while calves are born at a massive 14ft.

These whales feed by opening their mouths and swimming through patches of zooplankton.

Human activity has caused at least some of this summer's deaths.

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered of all large whale species, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

These massive marine mammals can weigh over 150,000 lbs, and rely on nursery areas in

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