A humpback whale has been spotted nearly 10 days ago in the shallow waters Moriches Bay. A team of professional veterinarians have euthanized the 20-ton marine creature earlier this week. The decision came after the scientists discovered serious health issues. Suffering from a wide range of infections and many other injuries, it was impossible for the whale to survive in the wild.
The statement came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials. Moreover, the humpback whale was suffering from impairing neurological abnormalities upon further inspection. The whale was stuck for several days in two-feet-deep waters before veterinarians put it down.
Official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Statement
A team of private researchers with the NOAA state that euthanasia provided the most humane solution to end the whale’s suffering. Mostly because they believed that the humpback whale had no chance of surviving, according to their statement.
On November 13th, multiple individuals spotted the humpback whale swimming in the shallow waters of Moriches Bay. The Riverhead Foundation attempted to clear the sandbar and help the humpback whale to swim away. However, their efforts ultimately failed. John Bullard is the NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. According to Mr. Bullard, the oceanic factors and tidal conditions made the rescue operation impossible.
In order to defend their actions, the NOAA officials stated that large marine creatures often strand themselves. The humpback whale in this case was no exception, according to NOAA. They explain that this behavior is common, especially when a whale is sick or too weak to survive on its own. Hence, NOAA officials strongly believe they made the right choice.
“Refloating a large whale may not be in its best interest, as it is already sick”, according to NOAA.
People present for the procedure wept as the humpback whale faded away. Some local residents have argued with the NOAA’s decision. At one point, several witnesses even tried to free the whale before they were strongly opposed by the officials.
Their disapproval comes from the fact that they believe NOAA didn’t do anything until it was already too late. However, the people present for the humpback whale’s euthanasia were not the only ones to voice their objections. Several environmentalists also declared enraged by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s resolve.
“I’m not sad, I’m angry”, says Adrienne Esposito. She is the executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
In light of the recent events, NOAA officials not only stand by their actions, but also encourage the public not to attempt to rescue stranded whales. Several humpback whales have been spotted in the area recently. As a result, this incident may occur again in the future. However, NOAA advises people against pushing the large marine creatures back into the water. They say that by applying pressure on the fins or tail, the rescuers can injure the whale even more. Also, an animal in distress could have unpredictable behavior which puts the lives of the people involved at risk.
NOAA does not see humpback whale as an endangered species any longer. The decision to cross them off the endangered animals list came earlier this week.
Image Source: Flickr