On Tuesday morning, a group of workers saw a breached sperm whale at Rockaway Beach. They were building a seawall when they spotted the flailing whale in the water. Job site superintendent Anthony Rossitto said that they alerted the Parks Department, the NYPD, and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Before the officials made it to 73rd Street and Broadway beach entrance, a few surfers tried to save the whale. According to Rossito, they tried to push the 30-foot-long whale back into the water, to no avail. “They just couldn’t get it turned around and get it back out.” Another bystander saw the futile efforts and did not get involved. He stated that trying and help the breached sperm whale was useless without the proper equipment or training.
Once the officials came to the scene, the whale had died. The experts had to rope the sperm whale and drag it back to shore. On Wednesday, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMSEAS) performed a necropsy on the whale. It was determined that this was a young female calf, around three to five years old. The calf sustained many injuries due to being banged against the sharp stones.
The NOAA released a statement saying, “Please remember that dolphins, porpoises, and whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes touching, feeding, or otherwise coming into contact with these animals illegal.” While the surfers were trying to do the right thing, they should have called the proper authorities and waited for them to come. Sperm whales are listed as endangered and should not be touched or handled. It would be best to stay 150 feet away from the whale.
This is the sixth whale to be stranded around the area since October 20th. Three of the whales, including this one, were breached sperm whales.