MANHATTAN — A whale was spotted near the Statue of Liberty Thursday morning, according to the United States Coast Guard.
Two boaters radioed the Coast Guard at about 8 a.m. to say they saw what appeared to be a "large" whale near Liberty Island in New York Harbor, Petty Officer Frank Simmons said.
Guard officials said the agency had not actually spotted the animal but issued a travel advisory for boaters.
But Instagram user Daniel Gallagher posted a video of the whale, which he called "Fudgey."
"If you see it, stay clear of it," Simmons said.
"We have had in the past whales found dead in the harbor, but we would like to avoid situations like that."
Whale expert Paul Sieswerda told DNAinfo the video appeared to show a humpback.
Sieswerda, whose group, Gotham Whale, keeps track of whale sightings in the area, said the population has increased along the eastern shoreline due to fishing restrictions put in place in 2011 on menhaden fish, which are main source of food for the aquatic mammals. Last year, there were about 70 whale sightings, but in 2016 the number jumped to about 100, so far.
"We’re so excited to be right in this wave," the whale watcher said. "And contributing to the info that we’re gathering about this phenomenon."
The highly trafficked New York Harbor can be dangerous for whales.
Several whales have also washed up on the city shores, including a 20-foot minke whale that was beached on Coney Island after colliding with a boat.