Crews bury Atlantic Beach whale after necropsy

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ATLANTIC BEACH -

Marine biologists conducted a necropsy Tuesday to find out what killed a massive humpback whale that washed up in East Atlantic Beach.

The nonprofit group Gotham Whale found the whale, which weighs roughly 20 tons and is more than 30 feet long, on the beach off Buffalo Avenue. Experts say 14 large whales have been found dead in New York waters this year.

Biologists collected samples they say they will send to pathologists and other researchers to help determine that cause of death. Results could take a couple of months.

The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and other agencies helped bury the carcass on the beach, although some neighbors cringed at the idea.

"It's a beach," says Kate Colletti. "I wouldn't bury my dog and my cat here. It's not sanitary."

Others, like Kathleen Regan, say the move is fine as long as it's environmentally safe.

In a statement from the AMCS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, authorities said burying the remains on the beach "is the most natural way to dispose of deceased whales."

The carcass was placed near the base of a dune to mitigate erosion concerns, and there are no health risks associated with the method, the statement continued.

Joint statement from Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration.

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