December 27, 2012
Endangered Finback Whale Stranded On New York City Beach, Dies Overnight Wednesday
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A nearly 60-foot-long whale that had been found stranded along a New York City beach on Wednesday was confirmed dead earlier today. The marine mammal, an endangered finback whale, washed up on the beach sometime Wednesday morning where it was found by a passerby, who dialed 9-1-1. Biologists rushed to the scene and discovered the animal was still breathing, yet did not have good news.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Wednesday that they didn´t expect the whale to survive the night. Allison McHale, a spokesperson for the NOAA told CNN it was “emaciated and in poor physical condition so there is nothing that can be done to save the whale.”
McHale said if the whale was still alive Thursday morning the agency planned to euthanize it in a “humanely” manner.
Nick Ecock of Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Dept told CNN late Wednesday that his crew thought the whale was dead when they arrived on scene, but it began moving shortly thereafter. The whale was discovered near Beach 216th Street and Palmer Place, on the north side of the Breezy Point neighborhood, a town still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
When biologists arrived late afternoon Wednesday, they had determined the whale was a male finback, the second largest species of whale, behind the blue whale. The finback is also endangered, with less than 120,000 breeding adults believed in existence.
A biologist on the scene said it looked as if the whale had been sick for quite some time. Ecock noted that the mammal was “stuck in (water) five feet deep at most” and was “cut up from all the shells.” He hoped a four-foot sea surge that was expected overnight Wednesday would help the beast return to sea.
However, it was clear by early Thursday that the whale had not made it through the night.
Mendy Garron of the National Marine Fisheries Service said officials found the 60-foot whale dead when they checked on him Thursday morning. The whale did drift out with the high tide overnight, giving some hope to responders, but had washed ashore again by the following morning.
Point Breeze FD posted an update on their Facebook page: “Unfortunately our whale friend did not make it and drifted back up onto the beach at 222nd street with the low tide. Rest in Peace.”
NOAA plans to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of the whale's condition.