Dead Humpback Whale Found Off Westhampton

humpback whale
The cause of the whale’s death is currently undetermined. (Credit: Riverhead Foundation)

The partial remains of a dead humpback whale were found floating in the waters off Westhampton over the weekend, marine biologists said.

Southampton Town Bay Constables towed the carcass, initially sighted approximately a half mile off of Fish Creek in Remsenburg, to the end of South Bay Avenue so a team of biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation could examine the whale on Saturday afternoon, officials said.

“The animal was not intact, but they were able to determine it was humpback whale, and possibly a calf,” said Rachel Bosworth, a spokeswoman for the group. “Only the head and flipper had been recovered.”

The cause of death is currently undetermined. Samples were taken and sent to a pathologist, but results may take several weeks. The carcass was taken to the Westhampton Transfer station where it will be buried by a town contractor.

This carcass is the second dead humpback whale found on Long Island this spring. The first was found floating in Napeague Bay in Amagansett in April. At least a half dozen dead whales washed up on LI last year.

Humpback whales are a threatened species that can grow up to 60-feet long, weigh 25-to-40 tons, and have a lifespan of 50 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They are threatened by getting entangled in fishing gear, struck by ships, harassed by whale watching boats, detrimental changes to their habitat and illegal hunting, NOAA said.

The Riverhead Foundation urges anyone who finds marine wildlife stranded on the beach to call its hotline: 631-369-9829.