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Nov 23, 2016 4:39 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Whale Stranded In Moriches Bay Euthanized, Feeding Outrage From Onlookers

A crowd gathers to watch the whale in Harts Cove in Moriches on Wednesday. DANA SHAW
Nov 25, 2016 8:44 AM

Wildlife veterinarians from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday euthanized a young humpback whale that had swum into Moriches Bay over the weekend and became stranded on a sandbar just offshore in Harts Cove in East Moriches.

Throughout the week large crowds of people had gathered near the end of Moriches Island Road, the closest point to where the whale was stranded about 300 yards offshore.

When the whale would flap its tail, cheers would come up from the shoreline, along with shouts of "Free the whale!"

Scientists had prevented several individuals who had wanted to try to free the whale from reaching the sandbar. Approaching or interacting with any federally protected marine mammal, like humpback whales, is illegal.

Biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research tried to free the whale on Sunday and Monday but were unsuccessful.

But barring others from making their own attempts drew heated criticism from some of those who think they could have done better.

A Facebook group called "Rescue Group" was formed and fed a stream of increasingly angry and vindictive posts directed at the Riverhead Foundation and NOAA as the whale languished on the sandbar.

On Wednesday, NOAA released a statement outlining the effort it and the Riverhead Foundation had taken to free the whale and emphasizing that more aggressive efforts, however well-intended, would likely have been unsuccessful, could have injured the whale and would have put people in harm’s way.

"Marine mammal biologists warn that efforts to haul whales off beaches can cause more harm to the animal as strong pressure on the tail or flippers can result in internal injuries," a statement released by NOAA on Wednesday afternoon said.

The biologists said that a healthy whale would typically be able to free itself from a sandbar over normal tide cycles, and that while the whale had appeared to be healthy while it was swimming in the bay, a stranding of this type usually would indicate an underlying health issue.

At a press conference at the Moriches Bay Coast Guard Station on Wednesday evening, biologists and NOAA officials said that all of their protocols call for allowing at least three tide cycles for the animal to "self rescue."

"The best thing for the animal is to free itself," said Sarah Wilkin, National Stranding and Emergency Response Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. "If it is healthy, it should be able to get itself off. If it can't, it's probably an indication of an underlying health issue and ... it will re-strand."

They emphasized several times how difficult moving the animal would be. The whale, they estimated, weighed as much as 30,000 pounds. Trying to pull it off the sandbar could dislocate the animal’s tail or pectoral flippers, Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer with NOAA, said.

But onlookers on Wednesday were not assuaged by the reality of trying to move an animal that weighs tens of thousands of pounds.

Tara Lewin of New Jersey was on the shore in East Moriches on Wednesday. She said she grew up in Blue Point and, on a holiday trip back, made time to come to see the whale in Harts Cove.

"I've been on the bay my whole life," she said. "This type of situation is upsetting. I grew up appreciating marine life."

Her biggest concern, she said, was the delay in action by authorities to help the whale once it swam into the enclosed cove--which was reflected in the handmade sign she held, which read: "No Red Tape, Save The Whale." "If it had received help from day one, it would have had more of a chance. Because of the delay, we'll never know." She added, "I'm not angry, just upset."

She hadn't yet given up hope, even as word reached the beach on Wednesday morning that the decision already had been made to euthanize the animal. "I was so happy to see its tail go up," she said. "It went up so high."

James Daniels, a 12-year-old from East Moriches, came to the beach with his parents, James and Diana Daniels. It was the first time he'd ever seen a whale, and his only suggestion was, "They should try to help it more." His mother, Diana, offered, "I hate to see it suffer," as the tail moved once more, the splash visible from shore.

Dailyn Fleet of Center Moriches held a sign with a pointed message: "Whale Lives Matter."

Late on Wednesday, State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said he would call for a State Senate hearing to review policies regarding rescuing such stranded animals and sided with the emotional calls of residents in casting doubt on the decisions made by the marine scientists.

"It’s with great sadness, dismay and frustration to learn that the NOAA veterinarian euthanized the whale today," Mr. LaValle said in a statement, adding that he had been "involved with efforts to free the whale."

"We are supposed to be the stewards of the earth. In this instance, we failed miserably," his statement read. "When situations such as this occur, we need take fast corrective actions. Even if the efforts prove not to be ultimately successful, it’s our human obligation to attempt to save nature’s mammals and other animals."

Executive Editor Joseph Shaw contributed to this story.

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not too long ago we would carving that whale up and having a real thanksgiving feast
By BrianWilliams (71), on Nov 23, 16 9:23 PM
No, BW -- what you would "not long ago" have was lamp oil.

300 or so years ago you might have had "a feast" of some sort.



By Frank Wheeler (1810), Northampton on Nov 24, 16 3:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
read some history books and get back to me chump
By BrianWilliams (71), on Nov 25, 16 1:30 PM
Name calling is for chumps;)
By dnice (2345), Hampton Bays on Nov 29, 16 10:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tell that to the president elect.
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 29, 16 10:44 PM
Another embarrassing show of "expertise" from the "scientists" permitted sole access to a suffering animal. At least they didn't get to use their high-powered rifles like they did a few years ago in either Montauk or Easthampton.

For three days they stood by doing absolutely nothing while others were forbidden to dig a channel to deeper water. Once again an animal died while scientific navels were contemplated.

Tell me again how letting it die a slow painful death was a superior ...more
By VOS (1173), WHB on Nov 24, 16 2:59 AM
...it happens, not a big deal.

By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (638), southampton on Nov 24, 16 8:36 AM
They didn't do absolutely nothing. The Riverhead Foundation tried to free the 15 ton animal twice but were unsuccessful. Also, you do realize that field biologists are some of the most rugged, adaptable, and innovative people, right? Just because someone has a PhD doesn't mean s/he sits behind a desk or microscope all day.

And with all due respect VOS, this is what these people do for a living. They deserve more credit and I don't understand why you're mocking their expertise. If, based ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Nov 24, 16 10:08 AM
Also - the people at the Riverhead Foundation have probably devoted much of their lives to understanding and helping animals like this - and I can guarantee they aren't in it for the money. No one, not even for a second, should think they didn't have the animal's best interest at heart.
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Nov 24, 16 11:29 AM
2 members liked this comment
Sadly VOS is correct. NOAA didn't show up until the whale was stranded for 3 days. They killed it on Wednesday so they wouldn't have to deal with it on Thanksgiving and to reduce the number of people that would be in attendance. The Whale still sits in the Bay because they hadn't formulated a plan to remove it.

Despite the fact that the whale was swimming in the bay for a week prior to its stranding, NOAA failed to come up with a plan for if/when it got stuck which was highly probable ...more
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Nov 26, 16 10:17 AM
I was there, the real problem at hand, was the fact that the whale didn't have a permit to be there... had he a permit, everything would've been fine. /End sarcasm.
By The Royal 'We' (191), Southampton on Nov 24, 16 3:14 AM
2 members liked this comment
If we had only been a sanctuary city...
By Walt (285), Southampton on Nov 26, 16 6:56 PM
NOT FUNNY Royal We!
By greeneyedlady (55), East Quogue on Nov 24, 16 11:59 AM
About 8 years ago there was a mass (30) dolphins stranded or trapped inside northwest harbor.
The foundation came out and said they were monitoring them and they looked fine initially.
They ALL died.
The foundation didn't take any assistance or help from individuals that had expertise in the waterways there or could lend a helpful hand.
Take a chance will ya!! Much worse to euthanize the animal with out taking a chance than trying to think outside the box.
NOT impressed ...more
By H2O (85), easthampton on Nov 24, 16 4:46 PM
Riverhead Foundation, NOAA=Not Impressed. Let nature take its course seems to be their motto ie. sit on their hands. Why don't you let cancer, heart attacks, and other diseases take its course? Because you can extend someones or somethings life if you intervene. You have people who were willing to actually execute and because of their "expertise" and proprietary notion that they "own" the whale you stonewalled them.
By lirider (265), Hampton Bays on Nov 25, 16 3:10 AM
The whale is a lot happier now. Trust me.
By even flow (811), East Hampton on Nov 25, 16 6:22 AM
I just wish there was a proactive stance in the beginning.

From the start, it was an unusually high tide due to the super moon
It was a happy, healthy animal following a food supply

We ALL failed this animal
We were excited and thrilled to witness such a creature in our own back yard.

We should have reacted from the very start. we should have made an attempt to gently heard her back to sea. We are supposed to be aware. We knew the winds were coming. we know ...more
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on Nov 25, 16 8:58 AM
Oh please. Speak for yourself. Don't drive down North Sea Road. There's a dead deer on the side and I don't want you to blame all Long Islanders for that too.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Nov 27, 16 1:59 AM
Adam, I agree and admire your passion. If you are not already on board, we could use you in the pro-life camp. I feel sick about this whale, but far sicker about the million unborn children a year who are dealt no more of a peaceful outcome.
By fishcove (38), southampton on Nov 27, 16 8:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Jeez, Adam. Take it easy, will ya'? I was out of town when it happened. Am I still in your "ALL" finger-pointing, guilt trip?
By elliot (246), sag harbor on Nov 29, 16 8:04 PM
Get a grip Adam.
By dnice (2345), Hampton Bays on Nov 29, 16 10:23 PM
As human beings our arrogance of being all knowing experts, because we have a degree is hilarious. Here's another example of the scientific world knowing better than nature. Are we suppose to believe global warming comes from co2 only? How about solar flares or the position of the earth to the sun? Our best minds can not cure a disease why can't we let nature take its course? Funny how we accept certain things, because an alledged expert said it.
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Nov 25, 16 6:50 PM
Actually, we have the Vostok and other Antarctic ice cores which allow us to sample the atmosphere for about the last 800,000 years, and potentially up to the most recent 1.5 million years. This tells us the content of gases like CO2 in the atmosphere at the time.

So yeah, there's that...
Nov 27, 16 10:00 PM appended by Mr. Z
And just for reference, there has not been a sufficient alteration in orbit due to eccentricity due or any altering of the planet's obliquity in the last two hundred years to explain a mean rise in temperature globally. There however has been a "ski slope" increase in CO2 on a graph...
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 27, 16 10:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
can put men on the moon but can't free a beached whale. pathetic
By xtiego (694), bridgehampton on Nov 27, 16 6:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did we really go to the moon?
By Draggerman (883), Southampton on Nov 29, 16 8:11 PM
Yeah, we did.

Support the economy and buy a really nice telescope...
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 29, 16 9:53 PM
First world problems!
I learned that term here. It always amazes me the passion and zeal people Show for certain situations. I guess when you don't have any real problems to worry about, you have free time on your hands to attend a vigil and protest for a stranded euthanized whale. We live in a very fortunate part of a very fortunate part of a very fortunate part of the world. This was a natural event, an accident, yet we still find the time and resources to complain and point fingers and ...more
By deelove (140), Bridgehampton on Nov 28, 16 8:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Just this week, the "Holiday Hole" was dug. An unnecessary, pointless hole was dug for as long as it was funded. Over $100 thousand dollars was raised and spent digging a hole for no reason. In America, we have so much time, resources, and wherewithal, that we really have no clue what to do with it.
We are more than willing to throw time and money in a hole!
By deelove (140), Bridgehampton on Nov 28, 16 8:51 AM
It is instructive to note the cold-blooded comments of some posters who cannot understand why others have reacted compassionately to the suffering of this animal.

Readers should note who they are and note, in the future, how this personality characteristic determines their opinions on other topics.
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Nov 28, 16 9:11 AM
I also feel sorry for those who don't mourn the death of stars or shed a tear when gravity forces an object from one location to another.

You'll all be judged by HHS, it seems, who understands the divine and moral laws that bind the cosmos better than all others.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (638), southampton on Nov 29, 16 9:13 AM
HHS, seriously?
By dnice (2345), Hampton Bays on Nov 29, 16 10:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sure Mr Z the polar ice cap cores are the only thing needed to understand our climate. I love when a guy like you cuts, pastes and vomits up a conclusion.
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Nov 28, 16 10:45 PM
Sure. Because there is absolutely no modicum of intellect within my person. I know nothing of nutation, progression, or astrophysics for that matter unlike you of course.

In fact, all of your well informed and educated postings continue to stun us with every keystroke...
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 28, 16 11:55 PM
Well actually you and Algore were almost dead on when you said the poles were melting. Who knew that he actually meant POLLS and was referring to Hillary
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Nov 29, 16 6:06 AM
TROLL ALERT!!!!!
Nov 29, 16 10:01 PM appended by Mr. Z
Hey chiefy, I've got an interrogative for you. A query as it were. AND, no "Googling" on your honor. What color is the Earth's Sun?
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 29, 16 10:01 PM
to: adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp

Quote:

"I also feel sorry for those who don't mourn the death of stars or shed a tear when gravity forces an object from one location to another."
--------------------------------------

Thank you for the illustrative quote the exemplifies the flippant callousness of the emotionally malformed of our species who see no difference between inanimate objects and living, sentient creatures who suffer just as we do.

If only you ...more
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Nov 29, 16 1:40 PM
maybe it's you who are confused in thinking that your are any different.
By adkvkdiesldkrive (9), southampton on Nov 29, 16 2:51 PM
C'mon out of the cave Phil so we can b slap you around. You have been reduced to liking posts instead of commenting.
By dnice (2345), Hampton Bays on Nov 29, 16 10:29 PM
...maybe it's time for Zeldin to have the intracoastal waterway dredged from Moriches to Hampton Bays to an appropriate depth to accommodate both boat traffic and the occasional stray whale? When he gets done with the Flanders zip code, of course.
By William Rodney (538), southampton on Nov 29, 16 3:15 PM
The "Whale Lives Matter" sign was absurd.
By elliot (246), sag harbor on Nov 29, 16 8:11 PM
3 members liked this comment
Honestly, sans human spectatorship this would simply be a case of an animal which made a poor decision not passing on it's genes.

Nature, or nurture?
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 29, 16 10:03 PM
to Mr. Z:

Quote:

"Honestly, sans human spectatorship this would simply be a case of an animal which made a poor decision not passing on it's genes."
--------------------------------------------

The same dispassionate comment applies equally to the following news story:

"Identified: Three Oklahoma teens missing 40 years, found at the bottom of a lake" by Gail Sullivan (The Washington Post, October 27, 2014)

- - - and would exhibit, thereto, the same ...more
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Nov 29, 16 10:36 PM
I don't really feel it's about a lack of empathy. Up until the last few decades how did our ancestors handle a situation like this? If it was even observed for that matter. When in history have you even heard a story of a group of fifty or better people dragging or herding a mammal of this size back out to sea?

More likely it was easy prey, like a wounded gazelle...
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Nov 29, 16 10:47 PM
to Mr. Z:

Our ancestors engaged in the wholesale slaughter of these animals, employed children in coal mines because they were small enough to crawl through narrow passages, and exposed newborn babies that they didn't want to "nature".

We don't do that anymore. We are beginning to appreciate that the lives of others (human and animal) have value beyond their use to us. Your attitude reflects a barbarous perspective that is increasingly both solipsistic and superannuated.

In ...more
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Nov 30, 16 10:20 AM
This was a debacle from start to finish and criminal negligence on the parts of NOAA and The Riverhead marine foundation. Now because the heat is on they come up with the lamest excuse and cover ups. All those who witnessed this horror know the truth and all their B.S will not change the truth.The had NO PLAN.They Tried NOTHING and they STOPPED those that had a pan and were ready to implement it while the baby whale cried and struggled for days! After tow tides and come and gone it was obvious that ...more
By MikeTheTruth (1), on Nov 29, 16 11:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
lol
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (638), southampton on Nov 30, 16 6:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
You meat eating , animal wearing, deer killing knuckleheads need to calm down. The whale is dead. Done. Over. between this whale and Trump you lions need to stop and move on. You have no idea what you are talking about. You don't know what you don't know.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Nov 30, 16 6:22 AM
Good article gentlemen! I will be interested to see the results of the testing that was done.
By beachbabe (14), Hampton Bays on Nov 30, 16 1:51 PM
Gentlemen and woman!
By beachbabe (14), Hampton Bays on Nov 30, 16 1:52 PM
Let nature take it's course. It's GOD's way.
By knitter (1653), Southampton on Nov 30, 16 4:10 PM
this was murder, plain and simple. We were not allowed to do ANYTHING to help the whale despite community desire. If NOAA had just waited the rain would have risen the sea level and the female whale would now be alive and free, but NO! NOAA had to murder her by drilling into her side, so blood poured out of her while she flailed and suffered. And they said digging her out, might hurt her? For godsakes! At least she stood a chance with local people taking efforts to save her. NOAA has now murdered ...more
By heatherdune (12), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 16 1:52 AM
Aha. Now I understand. You are a bunch of bewildered libs who have been let down by your government again. When you stop expecting your federal civil servamts to protect you and the things you love you'll no longer end up disappointed. Nobody could've saved that whale. It was up to Mother Nature and had absolutely nothing to do with you loons or any of the other federal break takers
Dec 1, 16 6:40 AM appended by SlimeAlive
Hey HHS. If you could please point out exactly what I said to upset you so. I want to make sure I say it again.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Dec 1, 16 6:40 AM
to SlimeAlive:

Yet another post that exemplifies the puerile railing, ignorance, indifference and determined irrelevance that constitute your baseless, prejudiced "opinions".

"SlimeAlive" is an appropriate sobriquet, but "KnuckleDragger" would be better.
Dec 1, 16 7:05 AM appended by highhatsize
Not at all "upset", SlimeAlive, but certainly "depressed" - - - at the waste of my education tax dollars and at the failure of mental health outreach.
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Dec 1, 16 7:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Sobriquet"...hahahaha. "Might you have some Grey Poupon?"
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Dec 3, 16 2:52 AM
to SlimeAlive:

Quote:

"'Sobriquet'...hahahaha. "Might you have some Grey Poupon?"
--------------------------------------------

I want my education tax dollars back!
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Dec 3, 16 9:23 AM
You might think that using big, fancy words will make you sound smart, but it can actually have the complete opposite effect.

It’s good to emphasize what you know when you’re trying to sound intelligent, but the way you talk about it matters. A study led by Daniel M. Oppenheimer at Princeton University, and published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology suggests that using long, academic-sounding words instead of simple, more easily-understood words makes people think ...more
By even flow (811), East Hampton on Dec 4, 16 6:58 AM
to even flow:

The article to which you refer was an examination of college students' expressed belief that using abstruse terminology in their written work made them appear more intelligent. The conclusion was that this behavior had the opposite effect.

That article did not, however, advocate "dumbing-down" normal communication to a tiresome, pedestrian vernacular, nor does it claim that individuals who use "big, fancy words" outside of the particular circumstance that it is examining ...more
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Dec 4, 16 9:23 AM
it wasn't an article was a study and it applies. Your fluffy self serving attempt at explaining why you are different is intellectually dishonest. Your response was a perfect example of you affect i.e. Several paragraphs to say that you think I'm dumb. It's the calling card of the flummoxed democrat
Dec 5, 16 5:58 AM appended by even flow
even flow: "it wasn't an article was a study and it applies." "Since it appears in the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal, the study IS an article" "Readers can easily access the study online and decide for....."
By even flow (811), East Hampton on Dec 5, 16 5:58 AM
to even flow:

Quote:

"it wasn't an article was a study and it applies. Your fluffy self serving attempt at explaining why you are different is intellectually dishonest. Your response was a perfect example of you affect i.e. Several paragraphs to say that you think I'm dumb. It's the calling card of the flummoxed democrat"
---------------------------------------------

Since it appears in the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal, the study IS an article - - - and it ...more
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Dec 5, 16 9:11 AM
You've now referred to it as a study twice while explaining it's not a study. Parenthetically, that's funny. I can assure you that the Princeton study is accurate. Your obviously affected fluffy prose doesn't impress.
By even flow (811), East Hampton on Dec 6, 16 4:31 AM
to even flow:

Quote:

"You've now referred to it as a study twice while explaining it's not a study. Parenthetically, that's funny. I can assure you that the Princeton study is accurate. Your obviously affected fluffy prose doesn't impress."
-------------------------------------------------

["sigh"] Here's an analogy that my help you to understand: As an apple is a fruit and a carrot is a vegetable, so the "study" is an "article."

I have invited you to defend ...more
By highhatsize (3958), East Quogue on Dec 6, 16 10:20 AM