SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Two dead humpback whales were spotted floating in the waters off New York this week, officials said, part of a troubling rise in whale deaths in the region.
Necropsies were being performed Friday to determine what killed the two whales that were first seen Wednesday, one off eastern Long Island and one in Raritan Bay between New Jersey and the New York City borough of Staten Island.
The Long Island whale was spotted Wednesday about five miles (eight kilometers) off Wainscott, New York, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries spokesperson Andrea Gomez said.
Southampton town police reported Thursday that the whale had floated into Shinnecock Bay. Police and staffers from NOAA and the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society worked to secure the animal to the beach front and then drag it onto the shore where the necropsy could be performed, Sgt. Eric Sickles said.
Also on Wednesday, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society received a report of a dead humpback whale in Raritan Bay, Gomez said.
The whale was towed to shore on Thursday so that a post-mortem examination could be performed on Friday by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, she said.
The two humpback deaths are part of a spate of whale fatalities in the region.
More than 30 dead whales have washed ashore along the East Coast so far this year, many of them in New Jersey and New York.
NOAA officials held a briefing in January to try to address claims by opponents of wind farms that the whale deaths might be linked to the offshore wind industry.
The officials said there was no evidence implicating wind farm development in the deaths of any of the whales that had been examined by scientists.