Two rare whale groups — southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest and North Atlantic right whales — have had mini baby booms since the start of the pandemic, raising hopes about their survival prospects.
In Washington state, home to the southern residents, for example, “there was a month or two [in 2020], from March 23 to the beginning of June, when we went on lockdown and there was no boating,” says Deborah Giles, a whale researcher at the University of Washington and the science and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orca. “But that was a blink of an eye.”
After that, she notes, boat sales actually increased and there were “many new boaters on the water that were behaving poorly around the whales.”
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