PORTLAND (AP) — Researchers with the federal government and the New England Aquarium say they’ve developed a new model to provide better estimates about the North Atlantic right whale population, and the news isn’t good.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the model could be critically important to saving the endangered species, which is in the midst of a year of high mortality.

The agency says the analysis shows the probability the population has declined since 2010 is nearly 100 percent.

NOAA says in a statement that it’s using a new statistical method to get a “clearer and timelier picture” that’s less affected by changes in whale distribution.

It says the number of whales declined from 482 in 2010 to 458 in 2015. There’s also a widening gap between males and females.

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