Beaked whale washes up on Moloka'i - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Beaked whale washes up on Moloka'i

Mel Paoa Mel Paoa
David Schofield David Schofield
Bill Puleola Bill Puleola

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

MOLOKAI (KHNL) - For the second time in weeks, an ocean giant washes ashore on Hawaii, this time the island of Moloka'i's south shore near Kaunakakai.

The whale will be flown here to Oahu from Moloka'i and NOAA officials believe the beaked whale is very very sick, they say it's a race against the clock to keep it alive.

This morning on Molokai's south shore residents spotted something struggling in the water.

"We saw something splashing in the water, big tail. Initially we thought it was attacking a hehemanu," said Molokai Resident Mel Paoa.

It was a 2,000 lb beaked whale. The normal deep sea diving mammal washed up once, was pushed back to sea and then stranded itself again. Dozens of volunteers tried carry it out of the water on a stretcher to save it.

" The animal is very very sick and is likely going to die but we'll wait for the veterinarian to get here, make an assessment and either way the animal will be taken to Oahu," said NOAA Fisheries Spokesman David Schofield.

Using a flatbed truck, the Coast Guard will then transport the whale to Barber's Point.

"A stranding like this is not very common and it's a wonderful opportunity for science," said Molokai Biologist Bill Puleola.

It's first beached whale in nearly five years, teams of Moloka'i volunteers take on this difficult task. From sea to the shore, any chance of survival is what they're hoping for. The whale will be transported to Oahu on a C-130 plane by the Coast Guard for care. Officials say more than likely it will be for a necropsy since they expect it to die, and at this point it's hard to say the cause of the whale's sickness.

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