BOSTON - Those endangered North Atlantic right whales cavorting in Cape Cod Bay are fun to watch, but their frolicking doesn't tell the whole story.
Charles "Stormy'' Mayo is director of right whale ecology at the federally funded Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Mayo says ominous signs suggest the global population of 500 animals is slowly declining. This time last year, he and other experts thought the population might be incrementally rebounding.
Right whales are among the rarest creatures on the planet.
Mayo says fewer animals are being hit by boats, but they're still getting entangled in fishing gear. He says eight in 10 right whales have scars from ropes and nets.
Mayo says entanglement weakens females and diminishes their ability to reproduce.