By Peter Sloggatt
A necropsy is being performed on the carcass of a whale found in waters off of Lloyd Harbor Saturday.
The 28-foot female humpback was found lifeless by Huntington harbormasters investigating a call from a resident of what appeared to be a whale in distress about 100 yards offshore in Lloyd Harbor at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, town public information officer AJ Carter said. The town called on the US Coast Guard and Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation for assistance and the carcass was towed to the US Coast Guard Station at Eatons Neck where biologists were to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
“They’ll see if there is evidence of trauma; if it was struck by a boat,” Rachel Bosworth, spokesperson for the Riverhead foundation said. If no evidence of trauma is found, it may take longer to determine what killed the whale, she added.
“They’ll cut into the whale, take samples and send them out,” Bosworth said. “They know it was a female. They’ll be able to tell how many times, if any, it reproduced., and whether it was in good health.”
While uncommon, whale sightings are not unknown in Huntington area waters and recent months have seen a number of whale sightings.
On Sept. 23, passengers on the James Joseph Fishing charter boat witnessed three whales feeding in Long Island Sound of Huntington Harbor, Long Islander News reported. And according to Bosworth, “There has been a group in three separate sightings in the last six weeks in Hempstead Harbor.”
“Unfortunately, we think she is part of that group,” Bosworth added.
It is not the first dead whale to turn up locally. When a 62-foot whale carcass washed up in Huntington Harbor in Oct. 1946, it became a virtual holiday in town with hundreds of spectators – including school groups -- trekking to the harborfront to see the sight.