Featured Image Credit: GrindTV
By K. Snyder
After several tense days, a young humpback whale that was stuck on a sandbar in Moriches Bay just off of Long Island was euthanized by wildlife officials.
NOAA, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation International Fund for Animal Welfare and North Carolina State University issued a statement after examining the animal and observed that due to signs of malnutrition, neurological abnormalities, and extensive infected skin injuries, euthanizing the whale was the more humane option than trying to dig it free from the sandbar.
The difficult decision to put the whale down was devastating to the community around the Bay, who had developed an attachment to the whale over the few days it had been stranded. Residents first noticed the whale after hearing its cries at night and quickly rallied to try to help the young stranded giant.
Local boat owners drove out to offer assistance to the wildlife officials but were turned away due to safety concerns. But people were determined to help however they could. Construction crews and boat owners offered their machinery and boats to assist with attempts to free the whale. Even the Governor of New York offered to provide NOAA with equipment they would need to rescue the whale.
Wildlife officials tried to move the whale but after the whale failed to free itself after several high-tide cycles and assistance efforts yielded no results, the decision was made that the whale was too sick to survive in the wild.
NOAA has taken possession of the whale’s body to move it to a safe location so they can determine what caused it to become stranded on the sandbar.
Whale sightings in Long Island Sound and heavily trafficked New York City waterways have been going up in recent years. Researchers speculate it is due to the cleaner status of the waters and an increase in fish populations that many whales hunt.
Video of the whale can be seen at the link below:
We’re sure that was a heartbreaking decision for the officials and rescuers involved. May the humpback whale rest in peace!