Riverhead Foundation: Whale stuck in Moriches Bay euthanized

The Riverhead Foundation confirms that a whale that was grounded on a sandbar in Moriches Bay has been euthanized.

The 25-foot humpback whale had been stranded in shallow waters since Sunday morning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had veterinarians assess the health of the whale before determining a proper course of action.

The Riverhead Foundation said Tuesday that it did try to create waves to free the animal, but the foundation says physically touching the 20-ton whale would have caused more harm than good.

A veterinary team from NOAA, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and North Carolina State University issued the following statement: "The veterinary team assessed the animal this morning and determined it was thin, limp, weak, minimally responsive, had evidence of neurological abnormalities, and extensive skin injuries with evidence of infection. Based upon these findings, the most humane option was to euthanize the whale since its chance of surviving in the wild was minimal. The whale was successfully euthanized using injectable medications with the time of death being approximately 1:20 p.m."

Experts add that the animal will soon be moved to a safe location for necropsy to study what caused the stranding, which may reveal important information about how to prepare for or respond to future events.

Long Island environmentalists have asked state lawmakers to come up with guidelines on how to respond to a similar situation.


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