Two Whales Beached in East Hampton Town

David Elze (most of him) with the Pygmy Sperm Whale on Sunday, January 13 2013
David Elze (most of him) with the pygmy sperm whale on Sunday. Photo by Carl Safina,

Two whales washed up on two separate and nearby beaches in East Hampton Township only hours apart on Sunday.

A 59-foot finback whale was discovered in Napeague around 8 a.m. The giant marine mammal was already dead, though officials from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research have yet to release the cause of death pending results of a necropsy performed on Monday.

The second whale, a 5-foot juvenile pygmy sperm whale, beached in Amagansett the same day. The sperm whale was called in around 2:30 p.m. and members of the Riverhead Foundation had to euthanize the animal because it had skin lesions and appeared “sickly,” according to an Associated Press report.

Marine biologist and conservationist Carl Safina, of the Blue Ocean Institute at Stony Brook University, shared that he believed the fin whale had likely been dead a week when it washed ashore Sunday. “Fin whale had some entanglement marks, possibly old. Damage on dorsal surface possibly a ship strike. Pygmy sperm whale had some skin lesions suggesting bacterial infection. Did not seem thin. Ingestion of plastic always a possibility. They’ll be examined more closely via necropsy in coming days,” Safina shared on his Facebook page after investigating the animals on Sunday, also noting that the two whales beaching was a “truly bizarre coincidence, a once-in-a-lifetime rarity…”

Safina is a world-renowned personality and expert on marine life. His television series Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina is currently airing on PBS. He was en route to Kenya, Africa to research his latest book on Tuesday and was unavailable for direct comment.

The Riverhead Foundation, located within the Long Island Aquarium has said they don’t believe the two beached whales are connected. Both animals were scheduled for necropsy examinations on Monday, which should help determine more concrete causes of the illness and death. READ FOLLOW UP HERE

Pat Paladines in photo with dead Fin Whale in Amagansett on Sunday. Photo, Carl Safina, Blue
Dead Fin Whale in Napeague on Sunday. Photo, Carl Safina, Blue


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