Two North Atlantic right whales have been spotted on the Georgia coast. The endangered animals usually begin arriving in December, but this year none had been seen until this week.
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North Atlantic rights whales give birth to their calves in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Southern states, including Georgia.
No calves have been spotted yet, but an adult female nicknamed Halo who might be pregnant is one of the whales that monitors saw from a plane Wednesday near Little St. Simons Island.
Last year was terrible for the critically endangered whales. Seventeen died in the Atlantic off Canada and Massachusetts. Several of those are believed to have been hit by ships or caught in fishing gear.
One whale has been found dead so far this year. It was off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia and appeared to be tangled in a fishing line, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
There are about 450 of the animals left.