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Medical intervention would not have saved whale, dolphin stranded in NYC waters

  • Dolphin.jpg

    Jan. 25, 2013: A wayward dolphin that meandered into a polluted NYC canal died Friday evening, marine experts said. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

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    A 30-foot whale washed up along the shore of Southern Queens (Breezy Point Fire Department)

Both the beached whale and the stranded dolphin that died in the waters around New York City in recent weeks were in poor health and likely have not have benefited from medical procedures, officials told

Kimberly Durham, the rescue program director at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, performed both necropsies. She determined both the whale stranded on Breezy Point, Queens and the dolphin stranded in the Gowanus Canal in Northern Brooklyn were in poor health before they got stuck. 

Durham and a team of medical students from Mount Sinai Hospital performed the whale's necropsy for three hours on the Breezy Point shoreline after it died on Dec. 27. The team discovered that the endangered finback whale suffered major kidney issues and had parasites commonly associated with its species. 

The dolphin's necropsy was performed on Sunday after it died Friday. During the four-hour procedure, Durham was joined by two others and found that the dolphin was nearing old age and chronically ill.

"We didn't find a trace of food in its stomach," she said. She determined that the dolphin was a male between the ages of 25 and 30. He suffered from kidney stones, parasites and ulcers.

"His fate was determined before he got to that Brooklyn canal," she said.

She said even if rescuers had been able to free the mammal, the likelihood for survival was nil.

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