Researchers monitor these whales from above, but protecting them will be its own challenge.
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The Wilderness Society

According to popular belief, right whales got their name because they were considered the "right" whales to hunt.

They were preferable for hunters because they swim near shore and float when killed. That sort of mindset drove their numbers so low that southern right whales are still recovering, even though we banned whaling of the species in 1937.

About 12,000 remain of one species, the southern right whale, according to one estimate.

You might imagine this would sound an alarm to keep them protected. Unfortunately, a new danger is at hand.


Their prime breeding ground in the Great Australian Bight (off the southern coast) is threatened by the fossil fuel industry.

Good job picking a beautiful habitat, you southern right whales. Gorgeous image via Green Collar Productions.

There are right whales in other parts of the world, but this species is limited to the Southern Ocean.

That's because southern right whales are basically wearing sweaters full time. Get this: The thick layers of blubber needed to survive swimming in the cold waters around Antarctica mean they probably can't swim through tropical ocean zones.

These whales especially need their current nursery in the Great Australian Bight, since they don't have any options otherwise.

The British petrol giant BP is trying to drill for oil in the area used by the whales.

This is the oil company that brought you the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. If you feel a little nervous about the future of these whales, you have a good reason: BP plans to turn the whales' nursery into an oil field.

These waters are too important to endangered whales to risk an oil spill.

Claire Charlton, a southern right whale researcher and marine biology Ph.D. student, explains the situation in the video below and gives us some extraordinary views of these threatened animals.

The nonprofit Wilderness Society is helping get the word out. This special place is at risk of being the next Deepwater Horizon.

To learn more about the nursery of southern right whales, check this page out. Here's a place to donate.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

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Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

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