The annual right whale migration is nearly upon us! Every winter, right whales from the North Atlantic head to our warmer waters to give birth and entertain tourists. It can be pretty cool to go watch them from the beach, as they get close enough to the shore that you will easily see them frequently popping up out of the water to get some air. In celebration of their return, the 8th annual Right Whale Festival is taking place at the Seawalk Pavilion in Jax Beach on Saturday, October 1.
It’ll be a fun family friendly event with live music, food trucks and other entertainment. The primary purpose, of course, is education. Right whales are seriously endangered and at risk of becoming extinct. It is estimated that fewer than 500 of these whales exist right now, which is why it’s so important to raise awareness of their plight. Right whales have been targeted by hunters for centuries for their blubber and oil (yep, whale oil is a hot commodity), and since they come so close to shore and are slow movers, they’re easy targets. Commercial whaling has brought these creatures to the edge of total extinction.
Right whales are federally protected by the Endangered Species Act, but they remain under threat both from hunters and from accidental boat collisions. The festival will highlight the efforts of local groups in tracking and protecting the right whale population. For more information, check out rightwhalefestival.com