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NYC beached whale unlikely to survive

Dec. 26, 2012 at 11:42 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A 60-foot finback whale discovered Wednesday on a New York City beach was emaciated and unlikely to survive, biologists said.

The whale was barely breathing and severely underweight at 60 tons, Kim Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation on Long Island, told The New York Times.

"Unfortunately, this animal is so emaciated, there's nothing we can do," Durham said.

The whale was spotted around 10:40 a.m. in the Breezy Point area of Queens, the newspaper said.

The mammal was "moving some of its flippers and its fluke and opening its mouth," said Mendy Garron, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service who coordinates marine mammal rescues.

The motions can be signs of distress, Garron added.

The prognosis for beached whales of that size is not good, biologists said.

"When large whales strand, it's very difficult," she said. "Their body physiology is so different from even smaller animals that the minute they get on the beach they're being compromised because their internal organs are being crushed by their weight."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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