Right Whale Dolphin

  1. Southern Right Whale Dolphin Facts
  2. North Pacific Right Whale Facts

We are closer than ever to the extinction of the North Atlantic right whale. Fewer than 360 whales survive today.

Hunted since the 11th century, right whales were nearly extinct when they finally received protection from whaling in 1935. Even so, the population has struggled to recover as they face mounting modern-day threats from fishing gear entanglements, vessel strikes, habitat loss, and pollution.

The northern right whale dolphin's scientific name is Lissodelphis borealis. The specific name peronii is named for Francois Peron (1775-1810). Peron was a French biologist on an expedition to Australia. Northern Right Whale Dolphin Lissodephis borealis. Right whale dolphins do not have a very distinct melon. Northern right whale dolphins are. Go Whale and Dolphin Watching in Dana Point. Dana Wharf Whale Watching began in 1971 and was the first whale watching company in Orange County. We are the premier year-round whale watching facility in Southern California. A right whale and her calf were spotted swimming near a Central Florida beach while being surrounded by a pod of dolphins, photos and video shows. Betty Gonzalez, a woman who lives along. Saving the endangered North Atlantic right whale - Whale & Dolphin Conservation USA Saving the endangered North Atlantic right whale We are closer than ever to the extinction of the North Atlantic right whale. Fewer than 360 whales survive today. The North-Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered of all large whales, with a long history of human exploitation and no signs of recovery despite protection from whaling since the 1930s. It is now mostly found along the Atlantic coast of North America, where it is threatened by entanglement in fishing gear and ship collisions.

Since its incorporation in 2005, WDC’s North American office has run a dedicated programme to save this imperilled species and implement protective measures to save right whales from those threats. For example, WDC has worked to develop and implement rules to reduce ship strikes, successfully reducing the risk of a fatal collision by 80-90% in US waters, and to increase federally designated critical habitat to cover nearly 40,000 square miles of the US East Coast.

Sadly, the unprecedented loss of at least 26 endangered North Atlantic right whales since April of 2017 has caused considerable alarm. In October 2020 it was estimated that fewer than 360 remain.

The recovery of large whales is key to combatting climate change and saving our own future. Emerging research demonstrates that whales act as ecosystem engineers and provide the much needed nutrients to phytoplankton, tiny ocean plants that create least 50% of our oxygen, annually sequester hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon, and provide a base for the marine food web leading to abundant fish stocks. We need right whales to survive- our future depends on it.

In response to a changing climate, human use of their habitat, or perhaps both, right whales have changed their habitat patterns since 2010 which has increased their risk of entanglements and vessel strikes.

Female right whales aren't living as long as males, leaving fewer mature females to bear calves and add to the population number and long-term survival of the species.


Extinction from current threats is predicted within 25 years at this rate.


WDC remains active in a number of stakeholder groups working to increase protections for right whales. We will continue to work with industry members to develop more sustainable fishing practices that don’t risk entangling right whales. We will continue to ensure legislators consider impacts to right whales when proposing any changes in their ocean homes. Through public education, we will reach as many people as possible- boaters on the water, students, families, and the general public- to share the plight of North Atlantic right whales.

North Atlantic right whale facts

  • Fewer than 360 remain.
  • 26 whales have died since April 2017.
  • The species is in decline with a 1% annual loss since 2010.
  • NO CALVES were reported during the 2018 calving season.
  • The leading causes of death are entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes.
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Southern Right Whale Dolphin Facts


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Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Lissodelphis
Species: L. peronii (Lacépède, 1804)

The southern right whale dolphin differs sufficiently from its northern counterpart to earn classification as a distinct species within the genus. Although this animal is also long and slender, the white pigmentation that forms a thin elegant line along the ventral surface in the northern right whale dolphin becomes enlarged here, entirely covering the southern animal’s lower flanks. The southern animal’s forehead and beak are also white, and — an unusual feature among cetaceans — the dorsal surface of the flippers is often white as well.

Several sightings of these rare animals have confirmed that they swim in large herds.

Physical Description: Somewhat smaller than the northern right whale dolphin, with a stouter rostrum.

Color: Anterior flanks are black; the dorsal region is black from just past the demarcation of the rostrum to and including the flukes. Ventral regions are a well-developed gray to white from the rostrum past and including the flippers down into the lower peduncle region, ending at the beginning of the flukes. The underside of the flukes is white with a black border.

Fins and Flukes: No dorsal fin. Small, well-developed flippers are rounded toward the body and nearly pointed at their tips. The flukes are small, rounded at the tips, with a well-developed median notch.

Length and Weight: Southern right whale dolphins reach about 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m) and 150 lb (68 kg).

Teeth: 43 to 47 small, sharply pointed teeth are found in each side of the upper and lower jaws.

Feeding: Pelagic fish and squid.

Breathing and Diving: No information available.

Mating and Breeding: No information available.

North Pacific Right Whale Facts

Herding: Normally 2 to 50. Sightings around St. Paul’s Island confirm herds as large as 1,000. South American herds associate, but do not mingle with, Lagenorhynchus species in the same waters.

Distribution: This wholly pelagic species inhabits the temperate and subantarctic waters of the South Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea, and waters directly south of Australia.

Migration: No information available.