File - In this April 10, 2008 file photo, a North Atlantic right whale breaks the ocean surface off Provincetown, Mass., in Cape Cod Bay.
(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
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Officials with the federal government say it's time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them. North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest marine mammals in the world, and they have endured a deadly year. The U.S. and Canada must work to reduce the human-caused deaths of the whales, Murray-Brown said.In another study, published last month in the journal Endangered Species Research, scientists examined right whale feces and found whales that suffer long entanglements in fishing gear produce hormone levels that indicate high stress.A five-year NOAA review of right whales released in October said they should remain on the endangered list.
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