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Mountaintop mining, plastic fish and the return of the right whale in this week's news

Return of the right whales

Once hunted to local extinction, southern right whales are swimming back to the coasts of New Zealand. Until the 19th century when their populations crashed, the giant, acrobatic whales migrated north from sub-Antarctic waters to New Zealand during the winter. Now, scientists say seven individuals are again swimming these well-worn paths. Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Auckland report the observation online June 27 in Marine Ecology Progress Series. Researchers used DNA sequences to identify the whales’ home population and found that a few whales had rediscovered their former New Zealand breeding grounds. —Nadia Drake

Fishy garbage disposals

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