Natural beauty! Two sightings of right whales remind us to be mindful of their important presence

Last week was a special moment for right whales and those lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

>>> STREAM ACTION NEWS JAX LIVE <<<

FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said that right whale #1425 ‘Butterfly’ and her calf were spotted off Ponte Vedra on Sat., Jan. 27. Butterfly is described by FWC researchers as being at least 43 years old. It’s been documented that this is her fifth calf as she last gave birth 10 years ago.

Right whale 'Butterfly' and calf were sighted off Ponte Vedra, Fl. on Jan. 27, 2024.
Right whale 'Butterfly' and calf were sighted off Ponte Vedra, Fl. on Jan. 27, 2024.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

Beachgoers in St. Augustine were also treated to seeing a youngster off the coast. Catalog #1208, a one-year-old right whale, was seen surfacing from the water. In a very special photo released by FWC, the young right whale could be seen swimming with what appears to be dolphins just ahead of her. FWC said she was last seen in 2023 rolling over several times, exposing her unique, white underbelly.

Most right whales have solid black underbelly's but catalog #1208 rolled over showing her unique, white underbelly.
Most right whales have solid black underbelly's but catalog #1208 rolled over showing her unique, white underbelly.

“Right whale calves normally separate from their mothers after a year, so this yearling recently became independent,” FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said.

It’s important to know that Action News Jax told you about the initial sighting back in December of Juno and her calf off the South Carolina coast.

It was an exciting time as the report of mom and calf kicked off right whale calving season. However, on Jan. 10, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resource Division said that anglers fishing near Edisto River inlet spotted Juno’s calf. It was suffering from serious injuries in what was consistent with being hit by a boat propeller.

Related Story: It’s calving season; Right whale and her calf spotted off Georgia coast

Related Story: Seriously injured right whale calf spotted off the coast of South Carolina, GA DNR urging caution

No other reports have been received about Juno or her baby.

The DNR said that vessel strikes, along with entanglement in commercial fishing gear, are one of the leading causes of death for North Atlantic right whales.

North Atlantic right whales are considered some of the most endangered large whales on the planet. It’s estimated that there are only 350 left.

Right whales can be visible from shore, particularly in Florida. Please report right whale sightings to the NOAA Fisheries hotline 1-877-WHALE-HELP (877-942-5343) or to the Florida-based volunteer sighting network hotline 1-888-97-WHALE (888-977-4253) manned by Blue World Research Institute.

FWC said you can view recent right whale sightings click here.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.