The endangered northern right whale, also known as the North Atlantic right whale, is officially the State Migratory Marine Mammal of South Carolina and the State Marine Mammal of Georgia. Eubalaena glacialis makes its home off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida during its mating and breeding season. The animal can weigh up to 70 tons and grow to a length of 55 feet.
The whales’ population was initially decimated by hunting. They first achieved protected status from the United States in the 1930s. Today, the whales are near extinction and remain threatened by climate change, illegal hunting, speeding vessels and entanglement in fishing gear. It is believed that between 300 and 400 of the animals exist today.