A dead humpback whale washed up on a beach in Queens, April 4, 2017. (Atlantic Marine Conservation Society)
NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - The carcass of a humpback whale washed up on the beach in Rockaway Park, Queens, on Tuesday morning. The New York Post reported that the marine mammal was found near Beach 116th Street around 9:30 a.m.
Passersby gathered around the whale, posting videos (video above courtesy of Greg Maggio) and photos to social media. Cops and Parks Department workers responded to disperse them and keep other people away from the animal.
The United States Coast Guard spotted the whale carcass floating 9 miles offshore Monday evening, according to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, which will perform a necropsy on the whale Wednesday morning.
AMCS spokesperson Rachel Bosworth wrote in an email to Fox5NY.com that the group is working with the city's Sanitation Department, Parks Department, FDNY, and Office of Emergency Management to move the whale up the beach and secure it for the necropsy.
"After the necropsy is completed, samples will be sent to a pathologist to determine any possible illnesses and/or causes of death," she wrote in the email. "These results may take up to several months."
She said that the necropsy could indicate if the whale was hurt, ingested marine debris, or had an apparent illness.
Bosworth said the male whale is 30 feet long, about 20 tons, and likely around 2 years old.
Whale sightings in the New York City area are becoming increasingly common.
A right whale got entangled in a fishing line near the Rockaways in December 2016.
A humpback whale got stuck in Moriches Bay and had to be euthanized in November.
On separate days in November, humpback whale sightings were reported near the Statue of Liberty and the George Washington Bridge.
In June 2016, scientists deployed a buoy off the coast of Fire Island to monitor great whales in New York Bight, home to seven species of great whales, including the humpback whale and the blue whale.
AMCS's Bosworth pointed out that federal law protects marine mammals, so you must stay at least 150 feet away. If you find stranded whale, alive or dead, you should call the New York Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has authorized the AMCS, a volunteer-based organization, to respond to large whale strandings in New York.