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Update on Stranded Dead Minke Whale Near Flushing Bay, New York

Jennifer  Goebel (NOAA)
(978) 281-9175
(978) 290-0203 (Cell)
January 13, 2017

Photos courtesy of Riverhead Foundation
Rob DiGiovanni, working with NOAA Fisheries Stranding Network partner, Riverhead Foundation, works to secure the whale for transport.

A dead minke whale was reported on Thursday, January 12, 2017 around 5 pm. The whale was located near runway 13/31 at LaGuardia Airport in New York on marshy grass at low tide. Initiatial observations were that it is a female, approximately 20 feet long, and likely to weigh around 5 tons. Its size indicates that it is a subadult. No cause of death has been determined, and it is not known if the whale was alive when it stranded.

After an initial attempt to secure the whale for movement to a necropsy site failed on Friday morning, local stranding responders working with Riverhead Foundation were able to secure the whale on Friday afternoon, with the help of the Port Authority of New York. Currently, the plan is remove the whale from the site on Saturday morning, and transport it to a mooring facility operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The whale's presence and operations to remove did not impact air traffic at the airport.
Search for a landing site on which to do a necropsy has not been found, and so a full necropsy is not planned. Marine biologists working with Riverhead Foundation will conduct a limited necropsy on Saturday morning.

Minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales, and common in waters of the East Coast. They are not threatened or endangered, and their population is considered stable.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Goebel, NOAA Fisheries, 978-290-0203