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Apr 9, 2010 3:31 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Beached whale in East Hampton put down; euthanization dart missing on Main Beach

Apr 9, 2010 3:31 PM

The whale beached in East Hampton this week died on Friday morning after officials shot at it with a gun, said East Hampton Village Police Chief Gerard Larsen.

Members of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association made multiple attempts to euthanize the animal, on Wednesday and Thursday night.

During the second failed attempt, Chief Larsen said one of the darts ricocheted off the whale and is now missing.

Police will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. today at the East Hampton Village Police Station to inform the public about the health risk posed by the missing dart. Chief Larsen said members of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Suffolk County Emergency Medical Services and East Hampton Village and Town officials will attend.

The whale was beached at Main Beach since Tuesday morning.

David Morin, a marine mammal biologist from NOAA, and his colleagues attempted but failed to hook a line around the whale’s tail on Thursday to move it out of the surf and onto the beach. On Friday, around 11:30 a.m., officials used a payloader to drag the whale farther up the beach and then set up tents around the whale to block spectators from viewing the necropsy.

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i dont know they could have screwed this up any worse than they already did. what a bunch of jokers.
By tm (174), mtk on Apr 9, 10 3:36 PM
I am glad that this poor, beautiful creature is finally out of pain and at peace. This was such a sad story, and I had hoped that it would have had a happier ending.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Apr 9, 10 3:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
I hope the post-mortem of this circus will include a cost/benefit analysis of all the human actions.

In retrospect, might it have been more humane simply to let nature take its course with no human interaction?

Death is natural.

Right now, thousands of wild animals around the planet are dying unimaginable deaths. The difference is that no humans are witnessing these deaths, so they can't meddle in them.

This particular death was so unnatural that it makes my ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 3:40 PM
They shoot horses, don't they?
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Apr 9, 10 3:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
PS -- Hopefully no human being, or sea creature, will be poisoned by the missing dart, which presumably contains enough chemical to kill a human, if it would tranquilize a 10,000 pound whale!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 3:43 PM
I agree PBR. It's sad to see a giant creature like this die but it's Nature. It's a shame it wont be dragged out to sea to be a food source for the fish and the birds.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Apr 9, 10 3:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, domesticated animals of all types are put down. IMO, this wild and beautiful creature should have been allowed to die on its own. Many will disagree with this view, it is understood.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 3:45 PM
Hopefully Ms. Geismar and the other reporters will ask the tough questions which MUST be asked at the 4 PM news conf..
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 3:56 PM
I believe they did the right thing by euthanizing the whale but a missing dart. Are you kidding me??What a bunch of yo yo's. You cant write this stuff up. Perhaps they should have called up the Eskimos. They seem efficient at killing whales
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 4:21 PM
This incident could not have been handled any worse by those involved, if they tried. The Coast Guard should have towed the whale back out to sea 20 miles, 3 days ago. I suspect there was never any intention to save this whale from the beginning. Just what they could gain scientificly after killing it. Yup a load a lead from a high powered rifle does the job guys. Instead of erecting tents on the beach to hide their deeds from the public, they would be well off to start searching immediately for ...more
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Apr 9, 10 4:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
They let this whale suffer since Tuesday, were completely negligent with handling dangerous material and ultimately did absolutely nothing. I think a serious investigation should be made into this incident and how poorly it was handled. You can't let people who don't know what they are doing in charge of things like this as we have found out here.
By elfid (2), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 4:42 PM
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This is the type of wildlife mismanagement which raises guffaws of disbelief when I tell folks here out West, where I live part-year. Like LI sterilization programs for deer population explosions, like touchy-feely attempts to keep horribly maimed wild animals alive because some well-meaning but misguided urbanites can't stand a letting nature be or euthanizing. After a point, the protracted euthanization/rescue attempts put that hapless cetacean thru suffering that a single well-placed .270 Rem ...more
By SummerOldie (2), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 4:59 PM
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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By transplanted newyorker (15), northeastkingdom on Apr 9, 10 7:22 PM
A whale rescue organization I had corresponded with about this situation suggested after 80 hours of suffering with no attempts to move the whale out and with the other half-assed euthanization methods failed that military intervention should have been used with a high calibre weapon. They seemed to do nothing right.
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:12 PM
you guys at the news dept need to get ur Heavy Equipment correct.they used a Cat Bulldozer
By fdny7318 (60), Water Mill on Apr 9, 10 5:17 PM
Just like government to set up tents to hide their activity / failure / incompetence from the public
By freedom (3), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 5:29 PM
I agree with most of the comments before me - this was another Wildlife Rescue Circus. Reminds me of the dophin in NW Creek - more stranded mamals that should have been left alone. A lethal dart floating around the ocean is inexcusable. I watched a police officer a few years ago attempt to kill a car hit deer - took 3 or 4 shots. I offered to shoot it as I was returning from hunting and had my bow in my truck but I would have been arrested for shooting a deer on a roadway. Go figure.
By scottso (18), southampton on Apr 9, 10 5:38 PM
How can the person in charge of this sleep at night for not trying to save the whale right from the start. This young creature seemed to be very strong on the first day, couldn't it just have made a mistake and swam too close to shore, possibly playing or chasing something. I totally get the letting it die if its sick, but they didn't know that for sure. They assumed so. What harm would it have done for the coast guard to come and drag it out one time, if it washed up again then we would know it ...more
By blester (2), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 6:20 PM
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fact: Humpback whales prefer shallow waters when migrating....
By roxanne Briggs (10), East Hampton on Apr 11, 10 3:20 PM
How unbelievable all this story could be!!! The worse decisions I have ever heard about . In the final hours of the young whale, a gun shot to end its misery?????
A missing dart in the ocean???? How unlucky this whale to end up in our shore.
Please RIP, if you can !!!!! I would love to hear from Riverhead Foundation an apology for their mistakes.
By Stevens (9), Sagaponack on Apr 9, 10 6:46 PM
just unbelievable.. it will be the cover up of all time if no one suffers any consequences here...the 7 deadly sins..vanity,gluttony etc all for those power trippers in charge..bowman...and now a missing death dart...may the Shinnicocks beautiful prayers protect us all..
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Apr 9, 10 7:17 PM
I don't understand why they didn't at least attempt to pull her back out to sea.It's been done before.It's a disgrace that they let this animal suffer like it did.I'm sure the cow was out there .Mothers usually stick around. They could of given it a chance.Then if it beached itself and there was no other options you humanely put the animal down.I am shocked that people let this animal suffer like it did.And I thought the people up here were inhumane.I always tell them @ least in new york(long island) ...more
By transplanted newyorker (15), northeastkingdom on Apr 9, 10 7:39 PM
Yes - I too am shocked. I am shocked that everyone was falling for the blubbering idiots story that it was sick and that's why it beached itself. The tides, the sharks, the fact that it came ashore with a dolphin and a seal ( all of which might have been stuck in the same situation) and perhaps fleeing from a predator. Too many possibilities why it stranded and not one effort to get it back out into the open ocean. It is en embarassment. What a bunch of scientific crap. Logic is logic. Instinct ...more
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:05 PM
I did not read any previous articles but I don't see Bowman in this one. May I ask who that is? Your comments seem cruel.
There are photos at the Montauk lighthouse of a beached whale, from the sixties I think. EH town gave beached whales to the native indians and they used much of it in ceremonies and stuff. If I remember right.
My question is what do they do with it now? If you drag it out to sea, why wasn't that tried first off? Perhaps the coast gaurd could of scared ...more
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Apr 9, 10 7:50 PM
In the sixties there were less endangered species. This is an endangered species, on the E list ( endangered) and D list ( depleted.) It is a federally protected mammal. Might be why no one thought of handing it over to the Shinnecocks when they prayed over its suffering soul and why we didn't break through the police barriers and take matters into our own hands.
Charles Bowman is from the Riverhead Foundation and is basically the man in charge who screwed up what could have been an entirely ...more
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:01 PM
The sight of the Riverhead Foundation and their staff at one of these events is the equivalent of a tall dark figure in a black hooded cloak with a scythe. A sure sign of death and not a glimmer of hope. This foundation should be limited to seals, turtles and perhaps a penguin or two.
Probably the best thing to do if this should happen again is to not call them and let the people who have common sense, not ruled by science, greed or fear handle the situation and at least TRY to get the whale ...more
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 7:53 PM
I agree with you 100% It breaks my heart to know this animal suffered for sooo long.
By transplanted newyorker (15), northeastkingdom on Apr 9, 10 8:08 PM
So well said!!!!! Also it's a fact the migrring humpback whales prefer shallow waters... It's even on the NOAA website!
By roxanne Briggs (10), East Hampton on Apr 11, 10 4:13 PM
I just reviewed the article, and realize now that the missing dart was intended to euthanize, not tranquilize, the whale. This suggests that a much stronger chemical cocktail is in the missing dart. Is this correct?

Hopefully Ms. Geismar will update this article tonight or tomorrow based on the press conference.

This circus could actually take another turn for the worse IMO.

What a shame.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 8:04 PM
I was just going to comment that this is going from bad to worse in a fast downward spiral.
By splashdown (21), sag harbor on Apr 9, 10 8:05 PM
The same daily tabloid is now reporting that the whale weighed 13 tons, or 26,000 pounds. No wonder the first attempts to haul it out of the surf broke the pulling harness.

Plus, it is hard to imagine towing this much weight out to sea successfully without causing harm to the whale.

One aspect of this event which has not been mentioned is that we are between the full moon and the new moon, a time which has a lower tidal range in general (low tides are higher, and high tides are ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 8:16 PM
Where there's a will there's a way. With all the dredging equipment and manpower available to these experts in out town, it could have been done. Much more creatively than their scientific minds would even dream of.
Dragging might have harmed the whale should it have been done, but what could be worse than the whale howling and wailing for 80 hours straight?
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:20 PM
Thanks for the info localwater
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Apr 9, 10 8:17 PM
more like worse to absolutely absurd.
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:17 PM
New article posted.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 9, 10 8:20 PM
You see the photo.These are my girls(nigerian dwarf goats.) Some yahoo was letting them starve to death because the mother wouldn't feed them. She was just going to let nature take it's course.All it took was a bottle and time.That was 3yrs ago.They bring so much joy and laughter into a world full of heartache.The more you do the right thing the easier it gets!!!!!!
By transplanted newyorker (15), northeastkingdom on Apr 9, 10 8:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Absolutely true.
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 12, 10 7:12 PM
You have got to be kidding me. This many comments on a whale that basically died days ago. Curious if half of you people even thought about sending a little card, a prayer or even contributing to the families who lost there loved ones in the WV coal mine disaster. . Get real people and think about the miners in WV who lost there lives so we could all have POWER/ ELECTRICITY to post our comments here. Hey brother can you spare a dime !!!!!! Please send donations to:

Montcoal West Virginia ...more
By bonacspring (5), east hampton on Apr 9, 10 8:38 PM
One thing has nothing to do with the other.People care that this animal suffered. God told us to be good stewards to all that he has intrusted to us Of course my prayers go out to the people of WV.And I'm sure there are many others who are praying for these families.Remember the old saying you get more flies with honey then you do vinegar!
By transplanted newyorker (15), northeastkingdom on Apr 9, 10 9:10 PM
If we turn our backs on things like this that you deem worthless to opine about while there are thousands of tragedies happening everywhere around the world, it would not add to a growing concern to care for everything living. It really pisses me off when people like to make others who stand for something feel badly about what they are commenting about in that you suggest that it is less important. It all adds to the greater picture. Humans suck. Especially ones that don't stand for anything.
By localwater (35), east hampton on Apr 12, 10 6:07 PM
Yeah, I'm sure a little card will make it all better.
By Spelling Cop (22), Southampton on Apr 13, 10 5:55 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BlackDog (47), East Hampton on Apr 10, 10 10:45 AM
I'm sure glad they let this lovely creature die with dignity.
By Spelling Cop (22), Southampton on Apr 12, 10 1:18 PM
"9 whales are rescued and released in Fiji. Villagers got together and returned 9 whales to the sea. No NOAA, no "nonprofits", no "experts". Job is done by people who have no agenda and just wanted to help poor whales. Why are poor villagers able to do what 10 PhDs and dozens of "experts" are not?

By new scientist (68), Clearwater on Apr 12, 10 6:35 PM
How is it that suddenly everyone's an expert on whale rescue. Half of you are probably against human euthanasia but think it's a great idea for a whale. The other half think that pushing a debilitated whale back into the ocean to either drown or get eaten alive is a better option than gradually dying while heavily sedated. Where is all this environmental rigor when you are asked to donate to environmental causes. Where is all this environmental conviction when you go vote? What horrible hypocrisy!

Stick ...more
By whale (25), Gainesville on Apr 13, 10 1:37 PM
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If those are your criteria for critisizing then here goes. I have more than put my money where my mouth is. When I founded and ran Okeanos and The Stranding Program I did it with my own money and NO PAY for years and still took the comments as they could help. I also took no pay when we finally had funds for 6 months so the Kim and ROb could get paid and then was screwed out of that money ultimately by the folks that took over and formed the RIverhead FOundation so I think I have grounds to speak ...more
By ssadove (14), East Quogue on Apr 14, 10 3:46 PM
Time for a few deep breaths IMO, and a good night's sleep for all IMO.

"Montauk" has moved on.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 14, 10 9:43 PM
So where did they haul the carcass to? Was it done by Riverhead, the Town, Village, private contractors?
By BobbyH (44), Southampton/NYC on Apr 14, 10 11:58 PM