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New study shows New York, New Jersey seascape is full of fin whales

Endangered whale species finds home in waters off New York, New Jersey
Endangered whale species finds home in waters off New York, New Jersey 02:20

NEW YORK -  The endangered fin whale is the second largest animal on Earth. At 75 feet long and weighing 100,000 pounds, research shows they often live into their 90s.

New research released by marine biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, a global conservation program that also operates the New York Aquarium, showed a surprising discovery. 

"Over our four-year study, we detected fin whale song in every single month of the year. So they are here all the time in these waters," explains WCS Assistant Marine Conservation Scientist Carissa King-Nolan. 

For the study, WCS scientists analyzed about 2,000 hours of whale song recordings and found that the animals are constantly being detected in the waters between Montauk, New York and Cape May, New Jersey. 

"Fin whale song is very similar to a drum beat. So that patterning and the spacing between the beats can vary by season, by behavior, and even by sub-population identity," King-Nolan tells CBS New York's Hannah Kliger. 

The acoustic buoys that detect the whale songs are located about 20 miles offshore, but scientists say if you come at the right conditions, you can spot these majestic animals as close as a mile away.

King-Nolan notes that the research can help inform best practices when dealing with our oceans, like reducing plastic waste and reminding the public not to approach this wildlife. 

"Their population first declined due to whaling activity. And while their population size is slowly being growing, they still face a number of threats today. These threats include ship strike, ocean noise and entanglement," she says. 

We already know the ocean off the shores of New York City is full of life, with dozens of identified species including humpback whales, minke whales, and dolphins. With the addition of this research, scientists say the discovery will allow us to understand and appreciate these animals, and to better protect them. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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