Last Wednesday, July 8, beachgoers stumbled upon the carcass of a 2,000 pound beached whale on Long Island Beach. Since its discovery, experts from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation, who specialize in marine life, have begun looking into the possible causes of death. The cause of the 12-foot minke whale’s death is being investigated because many wounds were present on its body, but it was unclear whether the bite-like wounds were inflicted before or after the creature’s death.
A Possible Shark Attack
The wounds, resembling shark bites, spooked many swimmers at the Robert Moses State Park, and several are reluctant to enter the water again until it is clear what killed the 2,000 pound beached whale.
Rob DiGiovanni from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation confirmed that the wounds on the animal looked like shark bites.
Investigation Through Necropsy
Several marine biologists rushed on scene the day after the discovery to begin investigating the cause of death of the beached whale. Though it had previously been determined by biologists that starvation was the most likely cause of death for the minke whale, the bite mark-like wounds on its body were a cause for concern and a good enough reason to further look into the beached whale’s true cause of death. In order to determine that, marine biologists are now carrying out a necropsy procedure.
Other Possible Causes of Death
Researchers believe that there could have been other explanations for the whale’s death. DiGiovanni said that this incident should not cause alarm for people because similar cases of beached whales have taken place over the past few years. From Coney Island to West Hampton, six beached whales have been reported since January of this year.
In those previous instances of beached whales being discovered, four out of the six were determined to have been killed by ships that were going too fast when they collided with the whales. Fatal diseases have also been a cause of death for beached whales in the past, so the marine biologists who are in charge of the necropsy procedure being carried out on this 2,000 pound beached whale are hoping that the necropsy will confirm what, exactly, killed the animal.
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