Dead whale on New York City beach was likely hit by boat

A whale that washed up dead on Coney Island Monday was likely killed during a collision with a boat before it ended up on the beach.
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A whale that washed up dead on Coney Island Monday was likely killed during a collision with a boat before it ended up on the beach.

The adult female minke whale was found at noon on the sand at the end of Ocean Parkway, officials told DNAInfo New York.

The 20-foot mammal was dead by the time it washed up, according to Kim Durham, program director for the Riverhead Foundation, who performed a necropsy late Monday. After an hours-long examination, Durham and her team determined that the adult whale was killed by a boat within the last two days, she said.

Minke whales are not uncommon in the waters off New York City, but it's rare for one to wash up on Coney Island, Durham said. Whales have washed up in Rockaway, including one on the bay side of Breezy Point in 2012.

The minke whale is the third dead whale to beach along the coast of Long Island in the first six months of this year, which "seems like a lot," Durham said. By comparison, only three dead whales were reported in all of 2014, she said.

Efforts to clean up the waters around New York City have allowed animals to venture closer to the shores of the five boroughs, resulting in more sightings of dolphins and whales.

The great white shark that was caught a mile off Rockaway Beach in June 2014 was also closer than in years past, probably because it was hungry, officials said.

"These animals are here because the food is here," Durham said.

The minke whale’s age is unclear. Marine biologists can tell how old a whale is by measuring its ear bones, but the top portion of the whale's skull was missing and probably was ripped off by a boat's propeller, according to Durham.

The whale had bruising and cuts consistent with propellers from a boat striking it and had fish bones in her stomach, which means she was likely feasting on chum when she was hit.

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