A humpback whale has been stuck on a sandbar in a Long Island, New York bay for four days and veterinarians are considering euthanizing the 25-foot mammal.
The young whale has been fishing in Moriches Bay for about a week, but on Sunday he swam into shallow waters and got caught on a sand bar in a cove where he has been ever since.
Officials say the whale appears to be sick and may have to be killed, since moving the whale would be difficult and may hurt the 15- to 20-pound animal even more.
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A young humpback whale has been stranded for four days on a sand bar in a Long Island, New York bay. The photo above was taken by local photographer Mike Busch, and posted on his website, FireIslandAndBeyond.com
The whale has been fishing in Moriches Bay for about a week, but got stuck on the sand bar in Hart Cove on Sunday
On Wednesday, veterinarians were brought in to examine the whale, which may be sick
Deborah Fauquier, stranding and emergency response coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that veterinarians will determine the proper course of action.
‘If they felt that the most humane action was euthanasia and if it were safe to euthanize, then the team would be deployed as soon as possible on that,’ she said.
Mendy Garron, the NOAA’s marine mammal stranding coordinator, added: ‘Our goal once the medical team is in place is to make the animal more comfortable and end its suffering if it is safe for the whale and responders to do so.’
Residents in the area, which is located about 70 miles east of New York City, have been gathering on the beach daily to watch the distressed whale.
Officials are considering whether to euthanize the animal, since moving it would likely hurt it further
Residents have been gathering on the streets daily to watch the distressed whale
‘It kills me,’ Sue Abramski told NBC New York. ‘I don’t understand why you can’t save the animal. It’s open knowledge that he’s dying. Do something.’
Mike Busch of Brookhaven went out to watch the wale early Monday morning and told Newsday: ‘It’s not really moving, other than occasionally raising its fluke out of the water to scare the seagulls off its back.’
Protesters have also been gathering at the beach, demanding that something be done to save the whale’s life. Some of them have held up ‘Free Willy’ and “Whale Lives Matter’ signs.
While humpback whales are common this year off the southern coast of Long Island, it’s unusual for them to stray this far into the bay.
Boaters have been ordered to stay at least 150 feet away from the stranded whale.