Whale carcass removal to begin

KAHUKU (KHNL) - A whale carcass that has been rotting on the North Shore for nearly two weeks will be removed Thursday, July 17.

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Pacific University will begin to remove the sperm whale carcass from a rocky ledge in Kahuku.

The carcass has been a public safety issue since it was first spotted 12 miles at sea on June 29.

"Public safety and the safety of our staff is our main concern," said NOAA Fisheries Service David Schofield.  "Shark predation and biohazard concerns have made the removal of the carcass more complicated than usual but we are confident that the method we have selected will allow us to remove the carcass with as little impact to our local environment and the public as possible."

Officials plan to use a backhoe and front end loader to remove the carcass from the ledge.  The carcass will then be separated into smaller pieces.

Some of the bones will be saved for research and educational purposes.  The remaining will be carted to a burial site on a private land mauka of Kamehameha Highway.