A 12-foot Minke whale was found dead the morning after marine biologists and authorities refloated it when it was found beached in Hampton Bays on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
A fisherman found the dead whale washed up on the marsh at Shinnecock County Park and reported the discovery to Southampton Town Bay Constables shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), a nonprofit group that responds to dolphin and whale strandings on Long Island.
“They have confirmed this is the same Minke whale that had been re-floated yesterday in Shinnecock Bay,” said Rachel Bosworth, an AMCS spokeswoman.
The whale will be taken to another location, where AMCS experts will perform a necropsy to determine its cause of death.
The group had said the whale was male and estimated to be between 500 and 750 lbs. It was alert with no signs of trauma on Tuesday, officials have said.
Whales are commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean off the southern coast of LI, but it is very rare for whales to be found in the bays, experts said last year when a humpback whale got stranded on a sandbar in Moriches Bay.
Several days after that whale was stranded, experts euthanized the humpback, sparking outrage from critics that said not enough was done to save it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) later revised its whale stranding response protocols in response to the incident.
Although the majority of cases of stranded and dead whales that wash up on LI involve humpbacks, a Minke whale covered in shark bites washed up on Fire Island two years ago.
Minke whales are a federally protected species that can grow up to 35-feet long, 20,000 pounds and have a lifespan of 50 years, according to NOAA.
Anyone who finds a stranded whale is urged to call the New York State Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829.