A female fin whale was found dead and floating close to shore near Gibson Lane in Southampton on Saturday morning, according to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society.
Rachel Bosworth, a spokeswoman for the Hampton Bays-headquartered organization that responds to whale rescues and captures, said the whale was found beached at about 7:30 a.m. but the cause of its death was still unknown after a necropsy was conducted.
During a 2 hour and 15 minute examination, the whale was determined to be a 53-foot-long mature female and the level of decomposition suggested the whale had died some time ago.
“As far as cause, there are signs of traumatic injuries but they need to be further investigated,” Bosworth said.
The whale did have what appeared to be shark bites, but biologists determined those came after the whale’s death.
Samples and photographs were sent to a specialist for further investigation. The whale’s cause of death probably won’t be determined for another few weeks, Bosworth said.
The whale had actually been spotted Tuesday floating about nine miles off Shinnecock Inlet, Bosworth said, adding that the species of whale is commonly seen around New York waters.
“It was first spotted Tuesday, but it was pretty far offshore so we had to wait for it to come in before we could do anything,” she said.
She said the Town of Southampton provided heavy equipment for towing the whale out of the surf and onto the beach for the necropsy.