LAHAINA, Maui (KHNL) -- A humpback calf was found dead just south of Lahaina at about 10:00 a.m. Monday morning.
According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the whale beached itself at Puamana Beach and died shortly after.
Pacific Whale Foundation staff arrived at the beach around 1:00 p.m. to document the incident. The calf's body could be seen rolling in the surf along the shoreline.
Dr. Quincy Gibson, Pacific Whale Foundation's Director of Research, reports that the calf appeared to be just a couple of weeks old. She estimates that it measured about 8 to 10 feet in length. There were no visible manmade cuts or shark bites on the whale. "It appeared to be emaciated, which makes me believe that this was not a healthy calf," she said. "As sad as it is, it's possible that nature was simply taking its course here."
The carcass was removed around 3 p.m. to a site at Olowalu.
There was a report of sharks near the carcass before it washed on shore, but no sharks were sighted by DLNR staff since.
Dr. Gibson says it's unusual to see a whale calf stranded on shore. She says usually when a calf dies, it is eaten by sharks and no one on shore sees it.
DLNR staff posted shark warning signs at adjacent beach areas.
NOAA is expected to do a necropsy after which the carcass will be buried.