Stunning images were taken Tuesday when reports of a humpback whale was spotted in New York Harbor swimming near the Statue of Liberty.

A reporter was aboard the New York Media Boat captured photos of the sea creature. He estimated the whale to be about 40 feet long as it surfaced on the water every minute or so. “As we were passing the Statue of Liberty, it flung its tail out of the water – twice,” the reporter said.

A video of the whale was also posted by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Recently there has been a surge on whale sightings in New York Harbor. The Hudson River is cleaner than it’s ever been in a long time “and so it’s bringing nutrients out rather than pollution,” said Paul Sieswerda, president of Gotham Whale, a group that advocated for whales and marine mammals in New York City.

In 1972, the Clean Water Act and the Mammal Protection Act went into action and it was the likely cause that helped revive plankton levels in the area. The food chain has rebuilt itself, leaving some that great New York fine dining for humpback whales to enjoy.

“The whales come here to eat. New York is famous as being a good place to find good food,” said Sieswerda. “And the whales have found menhaden, which the local fisherman call ‘bunker’.”

Only three whales were spotted in the Hudson River in 2011. In 2019 alone, over 300 were spotted in the river.

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