NOAA to perform necropsy on whale to find cause of death - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

NOAA to perform necropsy on whale to find cause of death

David Schofield David Schofield

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Researchers say it's a sad, mysterious death, and there are questions over a beached whale that died suddenly on Maui yesterday.

On Tuesday evening, the carcass was transported to Oahu.

The whale carcass was taken to a lab. Researchers want to study it and find out why it died so young.

"I was sad and shocked that they couldn't bring it back to life," said Pu'ili Cockett.

13-year-old Cockett snapped pictures of the bleeding whale that died at Hamoa beach.

"It had like a few cuts and there were like crabs crawling all around it," said Cockett.

"It's got a lot of what we call Cookie Cutter shark scars all over its body. And the number that we see suggests that the whale was at the surface for a long period of time and getting attacked by all these little sharks, probably because of some disease process or illness," said David Schofield, Response Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Schofield says the 12-foot long, 1400 pound female, is a beaked whale - a rare species.

"This is also a youngster that looks healthy from the outside, probably a whale that's only two to three years old, good body condition but again it thrashed and tore about the beach and died suddenly yesterday," said Schofield.

Aloha Air Cargo transported the carcass to the Honolulu International Airport, which is an unusual delivery.

"I asked around and nobody could remember anything in recent history but we have moved quite a few other animals like monkeys limas and even a water buffalo from Tropic Thunder, the movie," said Jeff Bell of Aloha Air Cargo.

The carcass is now at a lab at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

That's where NOAA will conduct a necropsy, or an animal autopsy.

The last time NOAA conducted a necropsy on a beaked whale was in 2008.

It was stranded off Molokai.

And after struggling for eight hours in the water, a vet decided to euthanize the mammal. The U.S. Coast Guard transported the 2500 pound carcass to Oahu so researchers could learn more about its death.

NOAA said sonar used in the Navy's RIMPAC exercises may have been to blame, but there was no evidence to support that.

Like the whale on Maui, it too died young.

NOAA says the whale was blessed on Maui, which the agency says is standard procedure before performing a necropsy.

There are several dozen types of beaked whales, but all are rarely observed.

The reason is, not only do they tend to shy away from people and boats, they dive to depths of more than 6,000 feet and don't have to surface often.

The beaked whale travels in small pods of two to seven or completely alone.

They tend to feed mostly on deep sea squid.

 

 

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • N. Korea unmoved as world unites against its nuke ambitions

    N. Korea unmoved as world unites against its nuke ambitions

    Friday, December 15 2017 5:35 PM EST2017-12-15 22:35:55 GMT
    Saturday, December 16 2017 11:20 PM EST2017-12-17 04:20:13 GMT
    North Korea's friends and enemies joined forces Friday in opposing its determination to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state and calling on leader Kim Jong Un to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean...More >>
    North Korea's friends and enemies joined forces Friday in opposing its determination to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state and calling on leader Kim Jong Un to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.More >>
  • Forecast: Still a chance of spotty showers

    Forecast: Still a chance of spotty showers

    Saturday, December 16 2017 10:32 PM EST2017-12-17 03:32:44 GMT
    Image: Hawaii News NowImage: Hawaii News Now

    The threat of heavy showers and thunderstorms is diminishing as a low pressure system over the islands weakens and drifts to the west. 

    More >>

    The threat of heavy showers and thunderstorms is diminishing as a low pressure system over the islands weakens and drifts to the west. 

    More >>
  • Brennecke’s Beach closed to swimming due to shark sighting

    Brennecke’s Beach closed to swimming due to shark sighting

    Saturday, December 16 2017 9:45 PM EST2017-12-17 02:45:50 GMT
    (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)(Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
    POIPU, Hawaii – Ocean Safety officials have closed Brennecke’s Beach to swimming until further notice due to a shark sighting. Lifeguards report that a roughly three-foot Reef shark was sighted near the shoreline at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Per standard protocol, Ocean Safety officials have posted signs to warn beach goers of the shark sighting and are advising no swimming until further notice. Lifeguards will reassess the area on Sunday morning to...More >>
    POIPU, Hawaii – Ocean Safety officials have closed Brennecke’s Beach to swimming until further notice due to a shark sighting. Lifeguards report that a roughly three-foot Reef shark was sighted near the shoreline at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Per standard protocol, Ocean Safety officials have posted signs to warn beach goers of the shark sighting and are advising no swimming until further notice. Lifeguards will reassess the area on Sunday morning to...More >>
Powered by Frankly