For the second time this week, a deceased whale has been found on a Hamptons beach.
On September 26, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), the lead large whale response organization in New York State, learned that a deceased whale was discovered just east of Main Beach in East Hampton. AMCS was also notified about a deceased dolphin discovered in East Hampton.
AMCS, along with Village of East Hampton Police, East Hampton Marine Patrol, the Highway Department, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and Shinnecock Nation, arrived onsite to investigate the situation and discovered that the 21-foot whale was severely decomposed – with just two vital organs, the heart and lung, remaining. AMCS was not able to initially determine the whale’s species or gender. Biologists think that it may be a fin or sei whale. Genetic samples were collected and sent to a pathologist for testing. East Hampton Village removed the remains from the beach for disposal.
On Monday, September 24, a deceased minke whale was discovered on Indian Wells Beach in East Hampton.
“While this is the second large whale stranding in New York, specifically East Hampton, this week, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society has also responded to six other marine animals since last Friday and will conduct a necropsy today on a dolphin as well that washed ashore in East Hampton,” Kimberly Durham, AMCS necropsy program coordinator, relayed. “Though in cases like yesterday’s response where a species or cause of death could not be determined, this research is essential and we can still learn from these animals.”
For the moment, AMCS does not believe these strandings are connected. Typically, there are four to eight large whale strandings on the shores of New York each year. However, there have already been 11 strandings in 2018. There was also an unusually high number of strandings last year as well, which saw 14. The increase in strandings could be a result of civilians being more aware and knowing to report these strandings, the currents washing these deceased whales to the shore or even increases in the populations of various species. But, overall, lately there has been some unusual mortality events occurring throughout the Atlantic coast, impacting humpback whales, minke whales, and North Atlantic right whales. Stranding network partners are investigating these three species in particular to determine what it causing this.
“We are always looking into what is impacting the marine environment and what we can do as a public to promote marine conservation through action,” Durham added. “The public can be proactive as well in offering support as volunteers, interns, members, or taking part in education events.”
For more information about Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, visit www.amseas.org.