Investigators from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research report the discovery of two dead True beak’s whales within four miles of each other Sunday. The first, a 15-1/2 foot long female weighting more than 2,000 lbs was recovered from a beach in Southampton, while the second, a male calf 9-feet long and 400 lbs washed ashore between Mecox and W. Scott Cameron Beaches in Bridgehampton (Long Island). It is not known yet whether they are mother and son.
According to Rob DiGiovanni, the foundation’s executive director, necropsies are now being performed to determine the cause of death for both, as well as to learn more about the species, itself, which is rarely seen. In fact, “only two other True beak whales have been studies there in the past 30 years,” he noted.
“Seeing one either dead or alive is very rare,” stated Kim Durham, rescue coordinator at the Riverhead Foundation.
Named for Frederick W, True, curator at the US National Museum (now the Smithsonian), who first described an adult female stranded on the outer bank of Bird Shoal, Beaufort Harbor, NC in 1912, True beaked whales live in two distinct populations in the deep ocean. The first is found in the Northern Hemisphere between Nova Scotia in the western Atlantic to Ireland in the eastern Atlantic and as far south as Florida, the Bahamas, and Canary Islands. The other is found in the Southern Hemisphere between South Africa, and Australia.