The whale that was euthanized after it washed ashore at Orchard Beach in the Bronx Sunday was suffering from pneumonia and had significant weight loss, according to a marine advocacy group that performed its necropsy.
Authorities received a 911 call at 11:41 a.m. about a whale stranded on the beach. The 10-foot-long animal, identified as a minke whale, had visible scarring on its body.
Crews from the NYPD, the city’s Parks Department, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and other local groups tried to get the whale to swim on its own, and although the whale was free-floating, it continued to sink, according to the officials.
Experts from the marine rescue nonprofit Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation arrived later in the day and determined that nothing could be done to save the whale, police said.
It was then transported to the Bronx Zoo where it was euthanized at about 6:30 p.m., they said.
The following six-hour-long necropsy detemined that the juvenile, female minke was suffering from chronic pneumonia, according to AMCS. Tests are currently underway to learn what caused the illness and may take several weeks to complete, the group said.
Minke whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
“When animals like this strand, there are usually underlying health conditions,” said Rachel Bosworth, a spokeswoman for AMCS. “In these events, euthanasia is often the most humane course of action as to prevent suffering of the animal. Euthanasia is always a last resort and taken lightly.”