Dead Whale Hauled Off Montauk Shore

A excavator was used to remove the sperm whale calf.

The on the beach in front of the Montauk Shores Condominiums, was hoisted up by an excavator off the rocky shore on Saturday night.

Marine biologists with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation will conduct a necropsy on the whale at the East Hampton landfill on Sunday morning. 

Rescue program director Kim Durham said she was able to ascertain the calf was a female after she died. 

Though East Hampton Town and New York State Environmental Conservation officials originally discussed to wait for low tide in the morning, an excavator was able to make it down the shoreline on Saturday evening. 

Keith Grimes, whom the town hired to move the whale, said if he was able to get the beach, it was better to move the decomposing whale out of the water. 

"I think they realized they could get it out tonight rather than let it sit there overnight," said Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.

Instead of going through the condominium trailer park as was originally discussed,  Grimes drove a large excavator onto the beach at the eastern most entrance to Ditch Plains and traveled east over the rocks to where the whale's body was still beached. 

Durham said she plans on conducting a necropsy on Sunday morning. "We're hoping to get an understand of what happened to her," she said on her way out of East Hampton on Saturday night. "We want to know what happened to her."

The whale appears to be about a year and a half years old and was still nursing. She was bloodied and cut when she washed ashore. 

After the necropsy, the calf's remains will be buried at the landfill, Durham said. 

Oftentimes when whales die at the beach, they are buried right there. Durham said there are no plans to return the carcass to the beach. 

Wilkinson said he was pleased with the fast response. "I'm very happy how multiple agencies worked so swiftly together," he said.

With reporting by Richard Lewin.

Gail Simons July 24, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Very sad. I'm glad this wasn't a prolonged suffering.
Carole July 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Yes me too. Blessings beautiful being...


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