A 12-foot long Minke whale weighing in at 2,000-pounds was found dead on a Long Island Beach on Wednesday night. Experts believe the whale to be three years old. The cause of death is presently being investigated by experts performing a necropsy.
Rob DiGiovanni of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation informed Fox 5/WNYW that the whale was found at Robert Moses State Park during Wednesday night. Evidence of shark bites were located on the body of the whale but investigators state that the bites are not conclusive proof of the cause of death as the whale may have been attached after its death.
DiGiovanni reported; Several marine biologists rushed on scene the day after the discovery to begin investigating the cause of death of the beached whale. Though it had previously been determined by biologists that starvation was the most likely cause of death for the minke whale, the bite mark-like wounds on its body were a cause for concern and a good enough reason to further look into the beached whale’s true cause of death. In order to determine that, marine biologists are now carrying out a necropsy procedure.
Researchers believe that there could have been other explanations for the whale’s death. DiGiovanni said that this incident should not cause alarm for people because similar cases of beached whales have taken place over the past few years. From Coney Island to West Hampton, six beached whales have been reported since January of this year.
In those previous instances of beached whales being discovered, four out of the six were determined to have been killed by ships that were going too fast when they collided with the whales. Fatal diseases have also been a cause of death for beached whales in the past, so the marine biologists who are in charge of the necropsy procedure being carried out on this 2,000 pound beached whale are hoping that the necropsy will confirm what, exactly, killed the animal.
Minke whales are notoriously difficult to spot because of their comparatively smaller stature and size. They also tend to spend a shorter amount of time near the surface of the water, as reported by CBS New York. Minke whales are known to be common around Long Island and a humpback and a True’s beached whale also recently washed up around the Long Island area.
Lifeguards routinely parade the area. Anyone who sees an animal or person in danger is advised to contact park police or lifeguards and a 50 yard distance is recommended.