- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) - Several endangered North Atlantic right whales have returned to Cape Cod Bay.

The Provincetown-based Center for Coastal Studies said Monday that its research vessel spotted two of the marine mammals last week about five miles south of the Provincetown Harbor. It was the first confirmed whale sighting in the bay this year.

Two days later, five whales where spotted from the air in the same area.

There are slightly more than 500 North Atlantic right whales left. They return to the bay in the winter to feed on high concentrations of microscopic zooplankton.

The center alerted mariners to keep a sharp eye out for the animals. The low profile of a subsurface feeding whale makes them difficult to see, increasing the risk of vessel strikes, a leading cause of death.

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