LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) – A dead whale that washed ashore on Long Island last week was likely killed by a boat strike, according to an animal rescue group’s preliminary findings.
The cetacean was spotted Thursday morning on the sand at Smith Point Beach in Suffolk County, according to the Riverhead Foundation, a nonprofit group based on Long Island that rescues and rehabilitates marine mammals in New York.
Rescuers returned the next morning to remove the animal for a necropsy, examined the remains then buried the whale.
“There is evidence of advanced decomposition and extensive bruising on right dorsal and lateral sides of the animal,” the group said Friday on its Facebook page.
“The finding of blunt force trauma is consistent with injuries sustained with a vessel strike. Samples will be sent out for further analysis to confirm these preliminary findings.”
The creature was determined to be a Finback whale, the second-largest whale species in the world, and estimated to be as long as 60 feet.
A Finback whale had been spotted earlier in the week floating about 30 miles off Jones Beach but it was not immediately known if this beached whale was the same cetacean, the Riverhead Foundation said.
Witness Paul Peluso captured photos of the deceased creature, embedded above, saying its body lay just east of the beach’s pavilion.