Dead marine mammal washes up on Bayside shore

Police examine a dead harbor porpoise that washed ashore near the Bayside Marina. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Jeremy Walsh

Police rushed to the shore of Little Neck Bay Wednesday evening after hearing reports of a beached whale. There, just off the pedestrian path that runs along the Cross Island Parkway, they found a 3-foot-long harbor porpoise already dead, with a series of lacerations along its body.

“Unfortunately, it had already been decomposing,” said city Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson. “We estimate it had been dead for about two days.”

Officers removed the small marine mammal from the shore and turned it over to the Riverhead Foundation, a marine wildlife rescue group.

Riverhead Foundation officials were not available for comment Thursday afternoon, but a receptionist said it could take some time for the group to examine the body.

Bystanders were surprised to see the small animal wash up.

“I think it’s really sad,” said a woman who identified herself only as Laurie. “If I saw that at Jones Beach, I wouldn’t be so surprised, but this is not that kind of water.”

Harbor porpoises are common along the East Coast, according to the American Cetacean Society. They can grow to be up to 6 feet long and 200 pounds and are known to occupy bays and some rivers, according to the society’s Web site.

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