Stefan Lovgren in National Geographic News:
Alarmed by the deaths of eight North Atlantic right whales in the past 16 months, some scientists are calling for immediate protections. Listed as endangered by the U.S. government, the whales are now believed to total about 300.
Four of the right whales were killed by human activities—three by ship collisions and one by fishing gear. A fifth whale was probably also killed in a ship collision.
The deaths were particularly worrying to conservationists, because six of the whales were adult females, three carrying near-term fetuses.