DLNR: Lehua Island rat poison didn't contribute to death of 5 pilot whales on Kauai

Updated: Dec. 19, 2017 at 6:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two months after five pilot whales died following a stranding on a Kauai shoreline, new lab results are ruling out rat poison as the cause.

The State Department of Land and Natural Resources said Monday that lab tests done on liver samples from the whales came back negative for traces of Diphacinone, a rodenticide sprinkled on Lehua Island the month prior.

On Oct. 13, five pilot whales were seen splashing around in the shallow waters of Kauai's Kalapaki Beach. A large crowd gathered and many tried to guide the animals back out to sea. Their efforts were unsuccessful and the whales later died.

Many were left wondering what caused the mass stranding.

Environmentalists have raised concerns over the recent rat poison drops on the nearby Lehua island saying it can harm animals other than rats.

In September, 45 fish and two dead birds were found on the island. The state said the lab results from that came back inconclusive due to degraded conditions of the samples.

Unlike the fish, the frozen liver samples of the whales were in good condition. The samples were tested at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research center in Fort Collins, Colo.

What prompted the whales to strand themselves leading to their deaths remains a mystery. Navy officials also ruled out the use of sonar as a factor.

Additional test will continue.

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