A 35-foot-long humpback whale weighing several tons washed up on the shore of Lido Beach early Monday morning and died, according to authorities. It’s the third whale to wash up dead on Long Island in the past two months.
The Lido whale breached onto the shoreline at about 6:30 a.m. and was discovered at about 7 a.m., at which point the whale had died, said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), as well as local environmental agencies, were then called to the scene to assist.
“It’s very sad,” Clavin told the Press. “It really dug itself into the shoreline. We had to have a crane come to secure it to higher ground out of fear of high tide.”
The incident comes after another humpback whale washed up dead Dec. 3 in Amagansett and a sperm wale washed up dead Dec. 13 in Rockaway Beach, part of a recent spate of dead whales sparking a debate over whether offshore wind farm construction may be to blame for those and other whale deaths in New York and New Jersey in recent weeks.
NOAA, which is responsible for the nation’s oceans and fisheries, said 19 humpback whales were stranded last year along the U.S. Atlantic coast. During the first month of this year, there have already been seven of the whales beached from Maine to Florida
The sight of the sea latest creature drew people to Lido Beach as news of its arrival on shore broke. Clavin said that officials have closed off the area to prevent anyone from getting too close. He noted that it has been four or five years since a whale has breached the shores of the Town of Hempstead, and this is likely the largest to ever wash up there.
“It’s a majestic being,” Clavin said. “We’ve had a lot of people who’ve come down because they want to see this. It’s a beautiful creature and the size in and of itself is astonishing but the circumstances around this are very depressing.”
The cause of the whale’s death is yet to be determined. The animal showed no obvious signs of trauma. Authorities will conduct a necropsy Tuesday to determine the whale’s age and cause of death. Then, a burial site will be determined.
–With Associated Press