The East River that borders Manhattan is not known for having the cleanest water in the world. Therefore, major marine life sightings in that particular body of water are very few and far between. This is why it was such a surprise for members of the New York police department when they recently spotted a humpback whale swimming along the East River. This is not the first whale sighting in the river. However, they are rare enough where sightings of the massive animals are very easily remembered. Photos of the whale shooting water out of its blowhole went viral and were posted on many major news sights around the world.
It is unknown what draws certain whales into the East River on the rare occasions where one of the animals makes its way into the channel. December of 2016 was a notable month for whale sightings in the East River. There were three separate sightings. However, there is no way to be totally sure if they were all the same animal. It is common for members of the Coast Guard to send out a warning to ships in the area whenever a whale is sighted. This allows the captains of the ships to be on the lookout for the whale and prevent a collision.
Whales being spotted around Manhattan does not happen nearly enough for it to be considered a frequent occurrence. However, it is certainly happening with more regularity than it did 20 years ago. Marine biologists do not know why the whales are being drawn to Manhattan more than in the past. One popular theory is that there is now more food sources in the area than there used to be in the old days. Another theory is that noises from construction close to the water are attracting the whales.