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Whale carcass found off Westhampton, examined, foundation says

Kimberly Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead

Kimberly Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, takes samples from the remains of a humpback whale found Saturday off Westhampton. Photo Credit: Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation

The remains of a humpback whale calf floating in the waters off Westhampton have been found, Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation officials said.

Southampton Town bay constables spotted the carcass Saturday as it bobbed about half a mile from the shore of Fish Creek and towed the remains to the end of South Bay Avenue for examination by biologists, said Rachel Bosworth, a spokeswoman for the foundation.

The top portion of the whale’s skull and the attached skin — measuring about 20 feet — along with some of its ribs, about 10 vertebra and a flipper, were recovered, according to Riverhead Foundation rescue program director Kimberly Durham.

Biologists performed a limited necropsy Saturday, and took samples of the carcass to be sent to a pathologist for testing.

It’s not yet clear how long the humpback calf had been dead, but the carcass showed signs of “scavenger damage,” Durham said.

Biologists are still trying to determine the cause of death, Durham said, but there were no signs that a ship hit the calf.

In April, a 3-year-old humpback whale was found dead in the waters off Amagansett.

That whale appeared to have died of blunt force trauma injuries sustained after it was likely hit by a ship, Durham said.

The carcass found off Westhampton will be buried at the Westhampton transfer station, according to Bosworth.

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