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Humpback Whale Spotted 6 Miles From NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society has released a photo of a majestic humpback whale feeding in the Atlantic Ocean just a few miles from New York City.

The photo was taken Wednesday about six miles from the Rockaways.

The waters off New York City serve as a feeding ground, nursery, and migratory corridor for many species of marine life including whales, dolphins, and sharks, according to the society.

Earlier this summer, CBS 2 reported more humpback whales are spending time in the region.

Experts say over the past few years the waterways in New York and New Jersey have gotten much cleaner and as a result, the area is seeing more marine animals gather there.

"Rather than going all the way up north to Maine, Massachusetts, they're stopping here and finding nutrients, menhaden, abundant fish to eat," said Paul Sieswerda, a marine educator with the group Gotham Whale.

Menhaden, also known as bunker, are an oily bait fish that travel in large schools, attracting whales along the way.

Whale watching in the Tri-State area will be at its best until October, when the whales head to the Caribbean to mate, CBS 2 reported.

Humpback whales are especially popular with whale watchers because they often put on a show by breaching and slapping the water with their tails.

Adult humpbacks can grow to 60 feet long and weigh 40 tons.

They live in all the world's major oceans and are endangered throughout their range.

The Wildlife Conservation society runs New York City's zoos and the aquarium at Coney Island.

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