A massive humpback whale washed up dead near Gilgo Beach on Tuesday morning, six weeks after marine biologists euthanized a smaller whale nearby that was too sick to nurse back to health.
Marine biologists with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation are taking samples and performing a necropsy on the whale to determine its cause of death, officials tell the Press.
New York State parks officials deployed heavy construction equipment to move the whale before it is buried in the sand.
Humpbacks, which had reportedly been spotted off Atlantic Beach recently, are an endangered species that can grow up to 40 tons, 50-years-old and 60-feet long. There an estimated 11,500 in the north Atlantic, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The humpback is the second to die on Long Island this year. Istar, a female humpback that had been tracked since the 1970s, washed up dead in East Quogue in April.
It is also the second whale to die on the same stretch of beach in just over a month. Marine biologists euthanized a 10-foot pygmy sperm whale that washed up near Gilgo on Aug. 28.
The public is reminded to report any sightings or strandings of marine mammals and sea turtles to the foundation’s 24-hour hotline at 631-369-9829.