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With Stephen Colbert’s joke about the ‘whale pursuing its Broadway dreams’ and a music video featuring the sea mammal with Frank Sinatra’s song in the background, it seems to be a season of whale-watching for New Yorkers.
A humpback whale was spotted splashing around the Statue of Liberty recently, affirming an increase in the rate of whale sightings in and around New York.
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The whale was seen surfacing from the Hudson River, and over the next three days it travelled quite a bit, visiting the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on Pier 84, One World Trade Center and then the Statue of Liberty. With witnesses and local residents sharing and posting videos and photographs, the whale has quite been the social media phenomena for pandemic-struck New Yorkers.
From the creature’s dorsal fin markings and a circular scar from a barnacle, the whale has been identified as NYC0089. It was first spotted in 2018, off Jones Beach. Before NYC0089, the last whale to visit New York Harbour was in 2016.
Gotham Whales, a nonprofit that conducts sightseeing tours and also collects data on Atlantic whales, had identified five humpbacks in 2011 in the waters off New York City.
In December 2019, the sightings rose to more than 270.
Experts say that the whales are drawn to New York waters in search of menhaden, or bunker fish, which are increasingly attracted to New York’s less-polluted waters.
With this increase in whale sightings, New York boat operators have started offering more whale-watching cruise experiences.
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