Biologists with the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society are investigating the death of a young humpback whale that washed up on the shore of Breezy Point, Queens on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the nonprofit said biologists arrived at the site on Tuesday and began to plan for a necropsy on the whale, a juvenile that measures just under 32-feet-long and weighs between 20 and 22 tons.
AMCS was still working to secure the equipment needed to conduct the necropsy and expected for the procedure to take place on Thursday, the spokeswoman said.
“Necropsies are valuable in learning about various species. We conduct a necropsy and gather information on their life history, the effects of pollution, normal biology and physiological parameters, reproductive biology, and pathology,” AMCS said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “We have also learned about the effects of human interactions, such as ship strikes, entanglements in fishing gear, hooks, and ingestion of marine debris.”
The area where the whale washed ashore was closed off to the public on Monday for safety reasons, the organization said. AMCS suggests people should stand at least 150 feet away.
The number of whale sightings along New York City’s coast has increased over the past few years. The nonprofit Gotham Whale recorded 152 whale sightings in the waters around New York City in 2016 — up from 62 sightings in 2015 and 87 sightings in 2014.
In April, a baby minke whale was found on Bronx’s Orchard Beach. It was later euthanized after scientists determined nothing could be done to save it.
Earlier in April, a humpback whale was found dead on a stretch of Rockaway Beach near 117th Street. The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society said at the time that it was likely hit by a ship.