Amelia Island's Annual Right Whale Festival Highlights Critical Situation of "Local" Endangered Species
Event Signals Return to Right Whales to Amelia Island's Coast for Calving Season
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2021) – The annual Right Whale Festival will return to Amelia Island, Florida, Nov. 6-7, to highlight the critical state of North Atlantic right whales and local efforts to protect the species from extinction. The free family-friendly event also celebrates the return of the whales to Amelia Island’s coast as calving season begins. Festival guests can enjoy ocean-themed activities and educational exhibits, live music, food trucks, art and crafts, water recreation displays and more while learning about the endangered right whale.
“On Monday, Oct. 25, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium announced that the North Atlantic right whale population declined last year to just 336, which is an 8% decrease from 2019 and the lowest population estimate for the species in nearly 20 years,” said Gil Langley, president of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The annual festival is an engaging way for families to learn firsthand about ways to spot whales off our coastline and help save this species in decline.”
North Atlantic right whales are one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. Calving season begins mid-November and runs through mid-April. Each year, right whales return to their only known calving grounds along the warm coastal waters off northeast Florida and Georgia, giving Amelia Island locals and visitors a chance to catch sight of mothers and calves just offshore. The species is at a critical point and organizers of the Right Whale Festival hope the event inspires people to get involved.
NOAA Fisheries and other dedicated partners moved the Annual Right Whale Festival to its home at Main Beach in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in 2019 when the last event was held. As in past years, the festival will feature a variety of diverse exhibitors focused on marine conservation and education. Highlights of the two-day festival include:
The Right Whale Festival has worked hard to create a safe environment for all participants. Attendees are encouraged to maintain social distancing, sanitize their hands regularly, and stay home if feeling sick. There will be increased space between exhibitors, reduced touch points, and hand sanitizing stations available. Social distancing should be observed. Masks are recommended, kindness is mandatory. The Right Whale festival partners include NOAA Fisheries, Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, as well as dedicated sponsors SeaWorld, Wild Amelia and Jaxport.
For more information and a schedule of activities, visit RightWhaleFestival.com.
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