A 30-foot whale was found dead on Rockaway Beach Tuesday morning, officials said.
The sperm whale was found along the beach’s shoreline, near Beach 73rd Street, around 9 a.m., Department of Parks and Recreation spokesperson Meghan Lalor said in a statement.
The department is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society on a “plan for examination and disposal,” Lalor said.
“We mourn the loss of this awe-inspiring creature,” Lalor added.
The whale found on the beach Tuesday was the third sperm whale to become “stranded” in the New York City area in recent months, Allison Ferreira, a spokesperson for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, said in a statement.
On Oct. 21, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society “euthanized and examined” a sperm whale calf that washed up in Southampton, Ferreira said.
And on Dec. 5, a calf that washed up on Gilgo Beach was “pushed back into the water before biologists could respond,” according to Ferreira.
“That animal later stranded in New Jersey and died on its own, and was examined by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center,” Ferreira wrote. “Results from those examinations are still being reviewed.”
Ferreira noted that whales, like dolphins and porpoises, “are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes touching, feeding or otherwise coming into contact with these animals illegal.”
“The best way to assist these animals, and keep them and yourself safe, is by calling trained responders and maintaining a 150-foot distance,” Ferreira said. “Never attempt to return a large whale or other marine mammal back to the water without guided support from trained responders.”
New Yorkers can report stranded marine animals to the NY Stranding Hotline at 631-369-9829, she said.