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The North Atlantic right whale, also called the "urban" whale for its proximity to industrialized regions of North America's east coast, is one of the largest whales in the world. Averaging 14 metres, and weighing about 40,000 kilograms, it is known for its graceful tail, callosities, lack of dorsal fins, and strong bond with its young. But historically, it was known as the "right" whale to kill, and has been commercially hunted for its abundant blubber and oil since the tenth century.
Considered nearly extinct by the 1950s, the population slowly began to recover due to conservation efforts in the late twentieth-century. But commercial fishing-related deaths in recent years, including the loss of at least seventeen right whales (2% of the population) in the summer of 2017, put the species at a level of critical endangerment. The next few decades will determine whether it survives.
Offering background on the whale's history, unique biology and behaviour, information on what is killing them and how readers can help, The North Atlantic Right Whale is an important, accessible book that will spark action and increased awareness of the plight of this majestic creature.
Joann Hamilton-Barry is a librarian in Saint John, New Brunswick, and the author of There Be Pirates!, the Hackmatack Award-shortlisted Oak Island and the Search for Buried Treasure, and Boldly Canadian: The Story of the RCMP. She enjoys cooking and reading but her favourite activity is walking her dog with her husband and best friend, Nick Barry. Joann is the proud mother of two grown children, Alex and Hope.