EAST MORICHES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A baby whale stranded off the south shore of Long Island was euthanized on Wednesday afternoon.
The 25-foot marine mammal had been stranded on a sandbar in Moriches Bay since Saturday.
The humpback whale was chasing prey when it became trapped as water levels in the bay receded, driven by heavy winds.
On Wednesday, a team of veterinarians determined that the whale was not a candidate for rehabilitation, 1010 WINS reported.
Hundreds were gathered along the shoreline, watching as veterinarians from the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration assessed, and concluded that the stranded whale could not be saved.
Official word came from Chuck Bowman of the Riverhead Foundation.
“Couldn’t rehabilitate it, and it was too distressed to be able to get it rescued, so they made the decision to euthanize it,” Bowman told WCBS-880’s Mike Xirinachs.
It was an emotional scene with many openly weeping — upset that NOAA rejected offers to try to rescue the mammal.
Biologists will now study the mammal’s remains to better understand why it became stranded.
The Riverhead Foundation of Marine Research and Preservation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tried several efforts to dislodge the whale but couldn’t.