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Nov 30, 2016 11:45 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Community Says More Could Have Been Done To Help Trapped Whale

Nov 30, 2016 1:18 PM

Community members are still upset that their efforts to help rescue a juvenile humpback whale, which was euthanized the day before Thanksgiving after spending three days stuck on a sandbar in Moriches Bay, were rejected by responding agencies.

The estimated 15-ton female whale was first spotted in the bay on November 13, presumably while chasing bait fish, and got stuck on a sandbar near Harts Cove in East Moriches about a week later. Marine biologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, made the decision to euthanize the mammal after it repeatedly failed to free itself—a process called “self rescue”—over several high tides on November 23.

But people in the community, who held a vigil for the deceased leviathan that attracted several dozen people near the U.S. Coast Guard station in East Moriches on Sunday, said the responding organizations—namely NOAA and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation—did not do enough to save the whale.

“Everybody was really concerned about this whale because no action was being taken about the poor animal being stranded over there,” said Greg Sikorski of Hampton Bays. “If anybody got close to the whale they would have gotten arrested.”

Mr. Sikorski said he and five others aboard a boat where threatened with arrest by the Coast Guard if they came within 200 yards of the stranded whale.

On Sunday, those gathered for the vigil installed a blue cross along the shore and wrote the words “Long Island Cares” on it before signing their names and leaving messages for the deceased leviathan. “You didn’t die alone!” reads one message on the cross. “We all tried to help you. Hopefully your death won’t be in vain.”

Heather Lefort of Manorville handed out carnations during the vigil, explaining that it broke her heart to see officials telling Good Samaritans that they could not use their boats, barges or dredging equipment to help free the mammal.

“It wasn’t a sick whale,” Ms. Lefort said. “It’s very sad … They should have let us help. The barge would have taken four minutes to save that whale’s life. It would have been free.”

NOAA and six other agencies performed a necropsy on the whale on Monday at Cupsogue, where it was towed to the day prior. It was later buried in the sand.

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So many people were interested.. why not just crowdfund the $50k for the fine next time, and watch the whale you bought back to life swim away..?
By The Royal 'We' (198), Southampton on Nov 30, 16 4:32 PM
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By heatherdune (12), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 16 2:30 AM
Maybe we should do away with our protections for endangered and threatened species so every no-nothing will be free to impose their will whenever they please.

The community seems to have a pretty narrow view on this one.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (734), southampton on Dec 1, 16 9:27 AM
to adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp:

NOAA "protected" this creature by allowing it to suffer for several days and then killing it. One hopes that there was a compelling reason for this response but, so far, none has been proposed. What, one wonders, would have been worse for the whale than to allow compassionate amateurs to attempt its rescue?

NOAA had better answer this question, and soon. It's seemingly callous behavior is reminiscent of the NYSDEC's recent proposal to kill all ...more
By highhatsize (4146), East Quogue on Dec 2, 16 9:34 AM
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