Only 51 Of These U.S. Whales Remain. Little Prevents Their Extinction

"Even before they saw one of the rarest mammals in the Gulf of Mexico, the two amateur fishermen were already feeling lucky. They had motored to their favorite spot 35 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., downed a couple Miller Lites, and caught their third mahi mahi when they heard the sound of air escaping a blowhole.

"Then you start looking," said Ben Renfroe, who grabbed his phone to film it. "Is that a dolphin or a whale?"

But dolphins in the Gulf don't grow bigger than motorboats, and the dark figure Renfroe spotted just before it sank back into the water looked much larger than his 26-foot craft. Seconds later, the animal appeared above the horizon again, first showing off a small dorsal fin, then gliding its trunk over the waves like a surfacing submarine."

Chiara Eisner and Nick McMillan report for NPR November 16, 2023.

Source: NPR, 11/17/2023