5th North Atlantic right whale spotted off Florida coast

A fifth mother and calf North Atlantic right whale was spotted off the coast of Florida. (Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
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A fifth mother and calf North Atlantic right whale was spotted off the coast of Florida. (Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

A rare, endangered whale and her calf were spotted off the coast of Florida, the fifth mother-calf pair seen this year.

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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.

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.