Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Breaking: Whale in the Gowanus Canal

A whale has wandered into the Gowanus Canal. WNBC TV is reporting on an attempt to rescue a whale in the canal. WNBC.com says "the that was spotted in distress near 22nd Street. Channel 4 helicopter got video of the whale breaching the surface of the water a few times." News 4 first reported the story around 1:15 and we got an email from the Daily News about the whale around 3:15. While we don't know what a whale's tolerance (it's said to be a Pilot Whale) is for polluted water, the poor creature couldn't have had worse timing, given the amount of raw sewage that has flowed into the Gowanus because of the Nor'easter. The Gowanus suffers from what the experts call CSOs--or direct discharges of untreated sewage in heavy rain. We're certain that news of the whale will be everywhere before long. We hope that he or she is okay.

This reminds of us the Harp Seal that showed up in the canal in 2003 that was rescued and named Gowanda.
[Photo courtesy of WNBC]

UPDATE: Newsday is reporting that it's a baby whale, specifically a baleen whale, according to the Coast Guard. Officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Riverhead Foundation went to check on the whale with an underwater listening device.
Steve Sapp of the Coast Guard said it's the first time in his five years he's seen a baleen whale in New York's harbors. "It may be isolated, it may have gotten separated from its mother," he said.

Baleen whales differ from toothed whales in that they have a series of comb-like spires known as baleen that hang down from the roof of their mouth. As they swim open-mouthed through the water, taking in the fluid, the tiny zooplankton upon which they feed become stuck in the baleen. Humpback, North Atlantic and Fin whales are all baleen whales. Sperm and Killer whales are toothed whales, or Odonteceti.


Blogger Z. Madison said...

That is INSANE! Hope the little guy/girl makes it back out to sea...

5:14 PM  
Blogger bonnie said...

Usually when I hear about marine mammal sightings in New York Harbor is "COOL!" - but the Gowanus just doesn't seem like a good place for even a little whale.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wowsers...this post made me doublecheck the date to make sure it wasn't some sort of repost from april 1... on the plus side, the water is plenty deep today

12:06 AM  

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