NOAA tracked whale for 4 decades before it washed up on Lido Beach

LIDO BEACH, Nassau County (WABC) — Marine scientists are still trying to determine what caused the death of a whale that washed up on Lido Beach.

Scientists in search of answers at Lido Beach examined the whale up close and took samples for a necropsy, so they can determine how it died.

But answers from a lab could take weeks or even months and as onlookers watched the grusome process they considered the possibilities, all equally tragic.

“An accident maybe, or she was sick,” Cara Patino said. “My heart is really sad for the whale.”

Meanwhile the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said they’ve been tracking the 14.5-ton male humpback whale with partners for at least four decades.

“So this whale’s name is Luna, and we have been following the whale for a while,” Andrea Gomez of NOAA said. “It was last sited alive in September of 2022.”

That last siting was in Nova Scotia and Luna was considered only middle-aged at the time of his death.

Luna is the 10th whale in less than two months to wash ashore along New York and New Jersey’s Atlantic Coast.

The sudden rise is stirring a political debate over why with some blaming offshore wind activities.

Some concerned residents in New Jersey are even demanding a moratorium against off shore wind development, but NOAA has repeatedly called that speculation.

“I know as an agency we really follow the facts, and the science information,” Patino said. “So at this point, there is no evidence for us to believe that it’s tied to wind energy at all.”

In fact, NOAA said the upward trend of whale strandings is something they’ve been tracking since 2016.

For now, crews have the arduous task of moving the giant mammal and burying it in the sand.

“I hope they find a good burial site for the whale and they do all the scientific work needed so that we can continue having whales in this part of the country,” said Gerry Meyerson.

Two weeks ago, another whale was found dead on the New Jersey shoreline. That whale appeared to have been struck by a vessel.

That whale was a 32-foot, 7-inch female estimated to weigh about 12 tons and was apparently in good condition judging by the thickness of its blubber, according to oficials.

SEE ALSO: Yet another dead whale washes ashore in New Jersey, this time in Brigantine

Some lawmakers in New Jersey have called for a temporary pause in ocean-floor preparation work for offshore wind projects in the two states.

New Jersey’s governor said he doesn’t agree with that idea. Most of New Jersey’s environmental groups called an association between the deaths and the offshore wind work “unfounded and premature.”

Officials said there are currently a lot of large whales in waters off New Jersey, likely attracted by small fish they feed on that are also attracting striped bass.

They urged boaters to travel slowly (less than 10 knots) and keep an eye out for whales.

SEE ALSO: Environmental activists demand investigation into whale deaths at the Jersey Shore


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