An adult female Minke whale was found dead on Brighton Beach near Ocean Parkway on Monday.
A strike from a ship’s propeller likely killed the animal, which had severe injuries to its head, according to biologists from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation who performed a necropsy on the body.
In addition to the head wounds, biologists found internal bruising, propeller slices and mechanical laceration. They believe the death occurred within the last two days. The whale’s dissected carcass was transported to a Parks Department facility where it will be disposed of safely, while samples of the remains were transported to the Riverhead facility for further testing.
This isn’t the first cetacean to meet its end in Brooklyn. A 30-foot Sei whale beached itself near the Brooklyn Army Terminal in May last year, and in 2007 a 12-foot Minke whale — dubbed “Sludgie” — swam up the Gowanus Canal and died before rescuers could move it back out to sea.
Minke whales are abundant off the coast of Brooklyn, said a Riverhead representative, and ship strikes are a leading cause of death for whales in these waters.
“It is a common cause of death for whales because there are boats coming in and out,” said Rachel Bosworth. “If it’s a large vessel, they might not even be aware they hit it.”
As of now, authorities know nothing about the boat the killed the whale.