April 25, 2013

Humpback whale that died had been tracked for 37 years

The Associated Press

EAST QUOGUE, N.Y. — A dead humpback whale that washed up on a Long Island beach had been tracked by scientists since 1976.

The 48-foot whale washed up on a beach in East Quogue last week. Scientists told Newsday that she was known as Istar after a Babylonian fertility goddess.

Istar the whale had at least 11 calves and was at least 41 years old.

Kimberly Durham of the Riverhead Foundation said Istar was "a celebrity in the whale world."

Durham said Istar's cause of death is still under investigation but she had massive cranial damage consistent with a ship strike.

Istar had no electronic tracking device but scientists and whale enthusiasts used the distinctive markings on her fluke to track her.

She migrated yearly between Maine and the Caribbean.

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