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The female gestates for twelve months and the calf is born tail first, near the surface of the water - instinctively swimming to the surface within ten seconds to take its first breath, helped along by its mother’s flippers. Within thirty minutes of birth the baby can swim. Newborn Right Whales are 16 to 19 feet (4.8-6 meters) long. Calves nurse for a year, and when weaned are roughly 28 feet long. Northern Right Whales are near extinction due to hunting and are endangered. It is estimated that there are only 500-1,000 northern Right Whales alive. The southern Right Whale is more abundant (approx. 3,000), but also vulnerable to extinction and considered endangered.