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Dead whale washes ashore in Southampton

A 15-foot dead pilot whale was discovered Sunday,

A 15-foot dead pilot whale was discovered Sunday, April 13, 2014 on a beach in Southampton near Cryder Lane, according to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which returned to the beach Monday to conduct a necropsy on the whale. (Credit: Riverhead Foundation)

A 15-foot dead pilot whale was discovered Sunday on a beach in Southampton near Cryder Lane, according to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

Robert DiGiovanni, the foundation’s executive director and senior biologist, said researchers took a few samples Sunday, and that he was headed back to the beach Monday morning with a crew to conduct a necropsy on the whale.

“We'll do as much of a necropsy as we can, but it’s going to have to remain on the beach,” he said.


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DiGiovanni said the Southampton Highway Department was able to move the animal further up on the beach, so it wouldn’t wash away, but the whale is too large for researchers to take to the foundation’s necropsy lab in Riverhead.

The team will look first for any external injuries, and then take more samples before disposing of it, DiGiovanni said.

DiGiovanni said the foundation usually sees one to two pilot whales wash ashore each year.

He added that the public should never approach animals they encounter on the beach. Instead, call the foundation’s 24-hour hotline at 631-369-9829 to report a sighting.

In recent weeks, DiGiovanni said the foundation has received a number of calls about gray and harbor seals spotted on local beaches. While some were healthy, others were brought to the foundation’s facility to recover. There are 13 seals being rehabilitated there, including one that will be released Saturday in Hampton Bays.

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