Just this week, Wildlife Conservation Society staff photographer Julie Larsen Maher captured this humpback whale feeding a few miles from New York City. Humpbacks actually frequent the NY Seascape — this summer alone, Paul Sieswerda, Gotham Whale naturalist, has seen 56.

This whale was feeding in the greater New York bight, which serves as a feeding ground, nursery, and migratory corridor for many species of marine life including whales, dolphins, sharks, fish, and sea birds. According to Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium, many of the iconic animals in these waters are in trouble, and not all of them are adequately protected.

WCS and aquarium staff are working round the clock to restore healthy populations of these species, and protect New York’s waters, so we can continue to see scenes like this play out in the future.