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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Young sperm whale dies off Montauk coast - 23rd July 2011

An injured, young sperm whale that beached in Montauk on early Saturday along a rocky strip east of Ditch Plains Beach has died, authorities said.

Kimberly Durham, Rescue Program Director for the Riverhead Foundation, confirmed the whale died in front of the Montauk Shores Condominiums at around 2 p.m.

Durham and other rescuers had been monitoring the whale's respiration through his blowhole, she said. At 2 p.m. the whale's respiration had become less shalow, she said.

The Foundation is now working with town officials and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to come up with a disposal plan. Durham would like to be able to perform a necropsy on the beach if authorities can move the whale from the rocks and onto a sandier part of the area. The groups are working on the details because transport will require special equipment.

"We would like to secure the animal and do an examination," Durham said. "Because something happened to this animal, and for me, I want to know.

Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which arrived just after 11 a.m., decided rescue procedures would be too risky, especially given the animal's rapidly diminishing health.

"I have to rule there is a strong likelihood that people might get hurt," Durham, said. "This is a worst-case scenario because you have a young animal, this is the end stage."

Eyewitnesses noticed the whale at dawn, and East Hampton Marine Patrol arrived on the scene shortly after then. Several children tried to comfort the animal, pouring buckets of water over the whale during low tide, eyewitnesses said. Read More