A beaked whale removed from Scott Cameron Beach in Bridgehampton last week appears to have died from gastritis and other complications.
The whale, identified as an 11-year-old male True’s beaked whale, had washed up onto the beach just east of the Mecox cut on Thursday, but was not removed until Friday morning at 9:15, according to Rachel Bosworth, a spokesperson for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.
The carcass was removed by the Southampton Town Trustees’ maintenance crew, which worked in conjunction with the Town Highway Department and town bay constable to transfer it to a truck that then transported it to the foundation’s facility on East Main Street in Riverhead, according to Trustee Bill Pell.
Ms. Bosworth said that a necropsy performed on Friday, as well as additional examinations conducted over the weekend, revealed that the whale had died from gastritis—essentially stomach inflammation—as well as a combination of parasites and respiratory congestion in both lung lobes about 24 to 48 hours before the foundation was notified of its presence on the beach.
The whale also appeared to have a fracture to its lower jaw, as well as two deep cuts to its throat area, which Ms. Bosworth said were caused by scavengers. She added that examiners believe a seagull removed its eye.
Tissue samples were sent to a pathologist to determine whether the whale’s injuries occurred before or after it had died, as well as to determine other underlying causes of its death. The results may take up to several weeks, the spokesperson said.
Ms. Bosworth said it was unusual for this type of whale to be near the South Fork. “This species is rarely seen this close to shore, and they are generally found north of the New York area,” she said.