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Dead Beached Whale Buried in Sand Dunes

Dec 30, 2012 06:43 AM EST
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A finback whale that washed ashore in Queens' Breezy Point was finally laid to rest in the nearby sand dunes belonging to Gateway National Recreation Area Friday afternoon, reports New York Magazine.

The 60-foot whale was found struggling for life at around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday (Dec. 26) in the neighborhood of Queens, an area that was severely ravaged by the recent storm Sandy.

Following reports about the stranded whale, the New York Police Department's (NYPD) emergency service and local firefighters used a hose to pour water on the whale until a high tide helped carry it back into the waters.

The whale beached itself again on the shore Thursday, but was found dead.

According to senior biologist Robert DiGiovanni Jr., the executive director for the Riverhead Foundation on Long Island, the whale might have weighed around 40 tons before falling sick.

It could have been sick for some time, considering that it had lost so much weight and was very thin at the time of its death, DiGiovanni said, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Marine biologists carried out necropsy in order to determine the cause of the whale's death and also to find out its age.

The age of the whale, a male, has not yet been determined; based on its size, experts suggest it is likely that the whale was in its teens.

They found no visible, human-caused injuries on the massive whale's body, but noticed that it was emaciated. It did not have any food in its stomach when it died, suggesting that the whale was suffering from malnourishment.

Experts also noticed lesions in the whale's stomach and kidney. Tissue samples from the whale have been sent for analysis. The exact cause of its death will be revealed once the results are out.

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