VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Federal ocean managers are investigating the death of an endangered right whale off of the coast of Virginia.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the whale was found dead off the coast near the North Carolina border on Monday. North Atlantic right whales are one of the most endangered marine mammals, and they are coming off a year of high mortality in 2017.
NOAA says the whale appears to have become entangled in some kind of line. Entanglement in fishing line and ship strikes are two causes of right whale deaths.
There are less than 500 North Atlantic right whales left. NOAA says the animal found dead off of Virginia is the first reported mortality of 2018. At least 17 died in U.S. and Canadian waters last year.