It’s official, the 60-foot-long New York beach whale is dead

Posted at 10:56 AM, Dec 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-27 12:52:33-05

By Kristina Sgueglia and Rande Laboni

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A 60-foot-long finback whale that washed ashore in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens is dead, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Biologists are developing a plan for conducting a necropsy and disposal of (the) animal," said NOAA spokeswoman Allison McHale

The whale was first discovered Wednesday morning on a beach in Breezy Point, a community still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, and biologists had been closely monitoring the status of the whale since its discovery.

"What we will do next is determine where the animal will remain, if we are able to bury it on the beach, or if it will need to be moved," said Rob Digiovanni, executive director and senior biologist for the Riverhead Foundation, a Long Island-based marine research and preservation group.

"That would be a discussion we need to have when we get there. Our plan is to do a necropsy on the beach to find out why it died."

Though disposal of the whale remains a challenge.

"In the past they been buried on the beach, disposed of in a landfill, or towed out to sea," said McHale.

Late Wednesday, the whale was still alive but it was "emaciated and in poor physical condition so there is nothing that can be done to save the whale," she said.

"We thought it was dead when we arrived, but then it started moving," Nick Ecock of Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department said Wednesday.

The whale was first spotted by a passer-by on a morning stroll. The passer-by called 911. Biologists from Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research on Long Island determined the mammal was a male Fin whale, the second largest species of whale.

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