Memorial planned for baby whale found off Hawaii Kai - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Memorial planned for baby whale found off Hawaii Kai

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

By: Melanie Yamaguchi and Paolo DiGiovanni

A baby humpback whale that died mid-January will be honored Friday with a memorial service.

The event will occur at 6 p.m. at the Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church in Aina Haina with a ceremonial blessing and spreading of its ashes near Kawaikui Beach Park where it was initially found.

Hawaii Kai resident Todd Motoyama spotted the calf Jan. 14 on a reef in shallow waters and called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for help. NOAA officials sedated the animal to stop it from struggling. The calf died about 40 minutes later.

Experts said an illness or injury likely brought the calf - weighing up to 3,000 pounds and approximately 15 feet long - close to shore.

NOAA and the Department of Land and Natural Resources work with the Native Hawaiian community to respectfully handle these types of cases. A cultural practitioner offered an oli, or chant, for the injured calf.

Related story: UPDATE: Stranded humpback whale calf dies

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