NEW YORK (AP) _ Marine biologists were standing watch on Tuesday over a young whale that lost its way in New York harbor and nearly wandered into a narrow waterway notorious for industrial pollution.
The animal, described as a juvenile minke whale about 15 feet long, was cruising around Gowanus Bay, the outlet from the mile-long Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. It appeared to be in good health and not distressed, said Kim Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research.
A New York Aquarium official, Fran Hackett, theorized that the whale followed a school of fish into the Gowanus area.
The whale's playground was in waters hemmed in by docks and a large oil depot at the exit from the famously polluted canal, but Durham said she was not unduly concerned that it would be affected in the short term by anything in the water.
Durham said the whale would be monitored overnight, with the hope that it might decide on its own to leave the area and swim out into the harbor, where the water is deeper.
Whales are a rare sight in New York harbor, and it was not immediately known when a previous sighting of a live whale last occurred.