Whale in the Hudson River delights New Yorkers and worries experts

New York, New York - A humpback whale has been spotted in the Hudson River. Witnesses are thrilled, but experts worry the animal might get caught in boat traffic.

The number of whale sightings has increased in recent years (stock image).
The number of whale sightings has increased in recent years (stock image).  © 123rf/Blake Randall

Andres de Guzman and Rhoda Marasafawy told NBC New York they saw something in the water when they were walking along the river on Monday. Andres said they saw the humpback whale come to the surface for air.

Andres described the sighting as something amazing in an otherwise difficult year: "It was like inspirational. Incredible, of all the things in 2020 to expect – or not expect – a humpback whale in the Hudson River. It’s amazing.”

And they aren't the only ones who saw the whale in the river! As NBC New York reported, there were more sightings of the animal near the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday.

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Gotham Whale, a New York City-based whale research organization and advocacy group, heard about the whale sightings and were able to identify the animal from the markings on its dorsal fin.

It's whale number 89! The first time the organization saw the whale was in 2018, but then it wasn't swimming around the Hudson.

Boaters urged to watch out for whale number 89

Whale number 89 has been spotted before (stock image).
Whale number 89 has been spotted before (stock image).  © 123rf/Andrei Orlov

Although it is unusual for whales to venture into rivers, experts say they sometimes end up there because they are following the fish. Experts and whale watchers have reported an increase in the number of whale sightings in the Big Apple and New Jersey. But the last time a whale was spotted in the Hudson River was in 2016.

Sarah Ryan Hudson, a Gotham Whale citizen scientist, said there is no reason to worry about seeing a whale in the river as long as it is healthy and doesn't appear disoriented. Whale number 89 appears to be eating, so Sarah said, "We’re not as concerned."

She and other experts think the whale will eventually follow the fish back to the ocean. The only thing that they worry about is the high volume of boat traffic.

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They have warned boaters to be extra careful while the whale is in the river. In the meantime, more people may get a chance to see the incredible sight.

Cover photo: 123rf/Blake Randall

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