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A pair of rare northern right whales swam into Indian River Inlet today – their second visit in two days.

The creatures attracted the attention of anglers, contractors working on Indian River Inlet bridge and employees at the Center for the Inland Bays.

Right whales are one of the most endangered whale species in the world. Experts estimate the population of North Atlantic right whales at 350 animals, according to the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium.

Suzanne Thurman, director of the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute Inc., saw the whales today and concluded they were right whales. Thurman’s organization responds to marine mammal and sea turtle strandings along the Delaware Coast.

This pair looked healthy, she said. They are probably a mother and calf, she said.

“It’s just so wonderful to see them.”

Jim Alderman was at work at the Center for the Inland Bays when the Delaware Seashore State Park superintendent called and said there were two whales in the inlet.

“Everybody ran out the door and I went and grabbed two cameras,” he said, “It sure was exciting to stand there on the rocks and see those whales that close.”

Alderman said the whales came in during the incoming tide, hung near the pilings that support the bridge and stayed put – surfacing and submerging.

“The fishing’s been fantastic,” he said. “They must have heard the fishing was good.”

Alderman said he talked to some anglers who were there. In nearly three decades of fishing at the inlet “they said they had never seen a whale,” he said.

Right whales – which full grown range in size from 45 to 55 feet long – migrate past the Delaware coast January through March, Thurman said.

Still, because the population is so small, it is rare to see them.

Thurman said she believes the pair has ventured into the inlet to feed.

This species is a baleen whale and does not have teeth. Instead, it eats some of the tiniest creatures in the ocean – copepods.

“The inlet is full of fish,” Thurman said.

The two whales swam in Monday night and again on Tuesday, both times at high tide.

One is about 40-feet long, she said. The larger of the two has callosities all over its head. Researchers use these markings to identify the whales.

“I’m kind of waiting to see if they come back,” she said.

delawareonline ¦ The News Journal ¦ Whales visit Indian River Inlet

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Thats defenitely cool....wish I had a chance to see them. Whales are amazing, we used to watch the humpbacks every winter off the beaches in Hawaii....Its an amazing site to see something that big.

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What do we use for bait?

:dontknow: where's dumbass, he was wantin' to troll the inlet, good-time for an experiment:evil6:

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Thats awsome-I would have liked to see them, thats very rare.

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I would love to see that,wonder if any one got photos.

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I would love to see that,wonder if any one got photos.

There is video of it on one of the news websites.

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WBOC Video Player %20in%20the%20Indian%20River%20Inlet&vt1=v&at1=New s&d1=162033&LaunchPageAdTag=Homepage&activePane=in fo&playerVersion=9&hostPageUrl=http%3A//www.wboc.com/Global/category.asp%3FC%3D42944%26pass%3D1%23poll58357&rn d=56941049

IRIwhale.jpg.68a258f52b2503dbb093b5156af

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Thanks Chomper! I could not get the video to play but went to Wboc:eusa_dance:16 site to see it. That was great.

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