A 24-foot minke whale washed up dead on the ocean beach at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton on Monday, May 8, three days after the whale was seen floating in Moriches Bay.
The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), the Hampton Bays-based nonprofit agency that handles cases of stranded marine life, responded to investigate the whale’s cause of death before it was buried. Samples were collected and sent to pathologists for analysis.
“The whale was very decomposed upon examination, and was not in good body condition,” the agency said. “The state of decomposition made a definite cause of death ruling very difficult, although there was evidence of heart issues similar to other cases observed in the New York Bight, where infectious disease was implicated in other minke whale strandings.”
The New York Bight is the continental shelf off the coast of Long Island and New Jersey where multiple whale deaths have been reported since December.
Some advocates have questioned if the deaths could be the result of ongoing offshore wind farm work being performed in the Atlantic Ocean, but federal agencies have said there is no evidence to suggest the construction is to blame.
Minke whales are a protected species, but are not considered endangered.
AMCS reminds the public to report all stranded marine mammals and sea turtles to the New York Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829