Humpback whale spotted near Statue of Liberty in New York City

Last year there were more than 300 whale sightings in the region

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 10 December 2020 21:13 GMT
Humpback whale spotted by Statue of Liberty

A humpback whale was spotted this week near the Statue of Liberty in New York City.  

According to Reuters, Bjoern Kils, the manager of adventure sightseeing tour company New York Media Boat, photographed the whale.  

Mr Kils estimated the whale was approximately 40ft (12.2 m) long. He said the whale surfaced every minute or so as it made its way down New York's shoreline on Tuesday.  

"As we were passing the Statue of Liberty, it flung its tail out of the water, twice," Mr Kils said.  

Mr Kils said once he saw the whale, he tried to warn other vessels in the area to give the whale space.  

“It’s a bit of a silver lining with COVID that there’s not much boat traffic out here, and the whale has a very good chance of getting out into the ocean,” Mr Kils said.

Though whale sightings in the waters off of New York are not unheard of, they have surged in 2020, according to CBS News New York.  

In 2011, only three whales were spotted in the area. In 2019, more than 300 sightings were reported.

The US Coast Guard said it was aware of the whale but said it would only intervene if the whale became entangled or otherwise put in danger by boats.  

"We're aware, but it's pretty normal that we get whales out there," Petty Officer Anthony Pappaly said.  

The Hudson River is significantly cleaner than it was in the past, and its flow is drawing nutrients along the city's shoreline. This attracts whales and other marine mammals.  

The revitalisation of the river is partially the result of the 1972 Clean Water Act and the Mammal Protection Act. The environmental regulations helped revive the plankton population in the waters. Plankton is a source of food for numerous smaller sea creatures, which in turn are a source of food for humpback whales.

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