The humpback whale that was found dead on a beach at 117th Street in the Rockaways early Tuesday morning was likely hit by a ship, a spokeswoman for the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society said.
The whale, 30-feet-long and 2 to 5 years old, was first spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard, floating nine miles off the coast on Monday night. It was discovered on the beach at about 7 a.m. Tuesday.
The animal had "tissue damage consistent with blunt force trauma," and about two-thirds of its body was covered in bruising, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society spokeswoman Rachel Bosworth said.
"This is consistent with a vessel strike," she said in a statement.
Researchers also found “extensive kidney parasites with associated renal damage,” Bosworth said.
The whale was to be buried on the beach Wednesday.
The conservation group warned that people should not approach beached whales.
“It is very important that the public maintain a distance of 150 feet from the whale at all times as these animals are federally protected,” the group said. “With the whale in the surf it is still dangerous to get closer as this animal may weigh around 25 tons.”