A humpback whale was caught on camera swimming close to the Statue of Liberty this week, the latest sign that whales have made a recent comeback in New York Harbor.
Reuters reports that Bjoern Kils, whose New York Media Boat transports news crews, took photographs of the whale he estimated to be about 40 feet long. He said the whale surfaced about every minute, making its way past New York's shoreline on Tuesday.
"As we were passing the Statue of Liberty, it flung its tail out of the water - twice," Kils told Reuters.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation also posted video of the whale.
New York has seen a surge in whale sightings this year, CBS New York reported.
The Hudson River, which flows along the western stretch of Manhattan, is a lot cleaner than it was in the past, "and so it's bringing nutrients out rather than pollution," said Paul Sieswerda, president of the group Gotham Whale, which advocates for whales and marine mammals in New York City.
The Clean Water Act and the Mammal Protection Act, enacted in 1972, likely helped revive plankton levels in the area. Over the years, the food chain has been built up, and humpback whales are now enjoying some New York fine dining.
"The whales come here to eat. New York is famous as being a good place to find good food. And the whales have found menhaden, which the local fishermen call 'bunker,'" Sieswerda said.
In 2011, just three whales were spotted in the area. Last year, there were more than 300.