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Source: CBS New York

Petition Calls For Action In Wake Of Stranded Whale’s Death Off Long Island

Posted: November 29, 2016
Originally Published: November 28, 2016

EAST MORICHES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A whale rescue task force is among the proposals recommended in the aftermath of the death of a stranded humpback whale off East Moriches last week.

The humpback whale was chasing prey when it became trapped on a sandbar in Moriches Bay on Nov. 19. The 25-foot-long marine mammal was euthanized last Wednesday after veterinarians concluded the animal could not be saved.

“There is some evidence of trauma,” Dave Morin, NOAA Fisheries told CBS2’s Tony Aiello, “What ultimately led to the animal’s decline is still under investigation.”

At a memorial on Sunday, many tossed carnations into the bay.

“With the coast guard out there, and all the heavy equipment and local fishermen who live around here, there’s gotta be somebody in there that can put something together to get her out of here,” Anthony Botiglione said.

Marine patrols last week shooed away locals desperately hoping to use tugboats to nudge the whale free – citing federal law against approaching whales.

“Inaction is doing no good, people want to see it at least have a chance to swim. I don’t know if that’s possible, but I do know doing nothing is not going to help,” Dan Panico (R) Brookhaven Deputy Town Supervisor said.

Some have blamed the death on what they said was a slow federal response. Under federal law, the whale could not be touched until officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arrived on the scene, and by then it was too late, CBS2 reported.

Environmentalist Adrienne Esposito believes a task force of trained local authorities ready to move quickly would provide stranded whales the best chance at survival, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.

Others agree.

“Be a better plan in place for something like this, not wait a week after a whale comes into a bay,” fisherman Leonard Tembler said.

“Out of all this I hope one good thing comes of it, maybe they’ll get that protocol together so if this ever happens again at least it’ll be saved,” said Wendy Pool, who organized a vigil for the whale on Sunday.

Still feds say there was no safe way to move the whale, pointing out that even specially designed equipment could not hold its enormous weight.

“We did break a 10,000-lbs strap trying to haul her onto the necropsy site,” Morin said.

Experts said they will evaluate what happened, and whether anything more could have been done.

An online petition calling for the task force has already received more than 2,000 signatures.