SEBASTIAN INLET, Fla. — A rare, endangered whale and her calf were spotted off the coast of Florida, the fifth mother-calf pair seen this year.
The mother, North Atlantic right whale No. 4,180, was seen nursing with its calf Tuesday off Sebastian Inlet, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"These southern waters are where right whales give birth and nurse their young, making it extremely important for people to be aware of the whales' movement and migratory patterns," Tom Pitchford, a biologist with the FWC, told Bay News 9.
It is believed to be the first calf for the 8-year-old whale.
ICYMI: 5th right #whale calf sighted! Right whale #4180 has been spotted with her first known calf: https://t.co/VJWwXHRcqo #news pic.twitter.com/LYDuPHbVET— MyFWC (@MyFWC) February 8, 2019
They migrate south to Florida and Georgia during the winter from Canada and Cape Cod for the warmer water.
Researchers believe there are fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales living, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
There have been four other sightings this year, including:
Boomerang, right whale No. 2,503, was seen with calf Jan. 25 off Jekyll Island, Georgia
Right whale No. 1,204, was seen with calf Jan. 17 off Amelia Island, Florida
Right whale believed to be No. 3,317, seen with calf Jan. 13 off Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Right whale No. 2,791, was seen with calf Jan. 6 off Amelia Island.
Cox Media Group