Decomposing whale carcass washes up in Hana, Maui

July 30, 2010, 5:53 AM HST · Updated December 14, 3:31 PM
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By Wendy Osher (Update 4:39 p.m. 7/30/10)

A dead sperm whale continues to float in waters off of Hana Maui.  The carcass was observed in waters near Makaalae Thursday afternoon, but residents say the dead whale was first seen on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

Whale carcass washes up in Hana, Maui. Photo by Derek Kawaiaea.

Crews from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources were on scene yesterday posting signs in the area.  Besides the strong stench, the decomposing carcass could create an additional hazard by attracting sharks.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describe the mammal as an adult sperm whale, 45-50 feet long.  Dera Look, a Marine Mammal Response Network Specialist with NOAA said the agency is interested in taking a sample, but it may be difficult to assess due to the advanced decomposition of the whale.

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“Right now, there is nothing we can do as far as removal,” said Look.  She said the inaccessibility of the area where the whale is located poses a safety concern for state and agency workers.  Crews will continue to monitor the situation.

Look said the whale was first spotted on Tuesday in the area between Hamoa Beach and the Venus pools in East Maui.  She said responders were sent down to assess the situation.  Crews from NOAA Fisheries as well as DOCARE, DAR and MPD are working to post signs to warn people of potential risks of going to the area as well as concerns as far as getting into the water where the animal is located.

A separate whale carcass washed up in Hamoa waters about four months ago.  The whale in the previous incident was identified as a rare beaked whale and was flown to Honolulu for a necropsy and further research.

*** If you liked this post, you might also like our story on the Return of Whale Remnants to Waters off Maui.

By Wendy Osher

(Posted 5:53 a.m. 7/30/10)

A dead whale continues to float in waters off of Hana Maui.  The carcass was observed in waters near Makaalae yesterday afternoon, but residents say the dead whale was first seen on Tuesday.  Crews from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources were on scene yesterday posting signs in the area.  Besides the strong stench, the decomposing carcass could create an additional hazard by attracting sharks, although none were reportedly observed yesterday.  Attempts to contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency that traditionally handles whale strandings, were unsuccessful.

*** If you liked this post, you might also like our story on the Return of Whale Remnants to Waters off Maui.

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