An extremely rare species of whale are turning up in record numbers to make a splash in Cape Cod.
There are thought to be only 500 remaining right whales on Earth, but almost half of them have been spotted off the US coast in the past few springs.
This year, right whales have returned to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in large numbers – and the sight is turning into an amateur photographer’s dream.
The animals are attracted to this area of the Atlantic Ocean because it is rich in plankton for feeding.
“It’s rather extraordinary and somewhat mind-blowing,” said Charles Mayo, a senior scientist and director of right whale ecology at the Centre for Coastal Studies in Provincetown.
Although right whales have foraged for food for centuries in Cape Cod, their numbers were decimated by whalers who hunted them.
In the late 1990s, fewer than 30 whales were spotted each year.
“There has been a huge pulse in numbers in the past few years,” said Amy Knowlton, a scientist with the New England Aquarium’s Right Whale Research Project.
“Right whales are probably scouting for food all the time. Maybe when one of them finds it, they call their friends.”
The whales are being tracked by the aquarium, which has given them individual names such as Kleenex, Snotnose and Wart.
It is thought shifting ocean currents caused by climate change has brought more plankton into the bay and more right whales with them.
“They’re a little like cows in a field. They go away from places that are not good and go to places that are good,” said Mr Mayo.