CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – A whale swimming in the Elizabeth River is getting quite the following, literally. The Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team has been monitoring the whale’s location for several days.
Wednesday morning, the whale was spotted at Money Point in Chesapeake but by the afternoon, it was swimming north towards the Gilmerton Bridge, according to Joan Barns with the Virginia Aquarium.
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is also on the Aquarium’s boat keeping a close eye on the 40-foot whale’s whereabouts. The monitoring began last Thursday when the Coast Guard spotted it in the James River between the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel. From there, it moved into the Elizabeth River.
The stranding response team said the whale looks thin and disoriented, It’s been spotted swimming in circles and laps. Chopper 10 flew over whale’s location Wednesday afternoon and caught it on video as it swam in the Chesapeake waters. At one point, the whale appeared to be stuck on a sandbar. Click here to view that video. Additional exclusive aerial footage is available in the video player above.
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is illegal to harass or approach marine mammals such as whales. Report any sightings of the whale to the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response 24 hour hotline 385-7575 or on the VHF to USCG who will inform the Aquarium.