Beached Whale Found at Hale o Lono
FEB. 22 UPDATE – A dead, 30-ft humpback whale was found at Hale O Lono Harbor on Sunday, Feb. 21. A team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently at the scene, taking samples for baseline research. “My guess is it didn’t come ashore alive,” said David Schofield, the stranded marine animal coordinator for NOAA. There hasn’t been a beached whale on Molokai since 2008, when a live humpback was stranded at Kaunakakai Harbor. “It is very decomposed, the chances of knowing [if] it died of a disease is unlikely,” said Schofield. The whale will stay at the beach near Hale o Lono Harbor for now. A witness said at first it was hard to tell it was a whale, in the way it was positioned and how far it had decomposed. “The blubber was all out and there was a pool of blood next to the whale,” she said. A row of the whale’s baleen plates (whale ‘teeth’) were found around 100 yards away from the body. “It looked like there were several shark bites – but not an obvious cause of death,” she added. Four whales were found beached in the main Hawaiian Islands last year, and Schofield said this find is “on par” with the state’s average. “As far as this whale season is concerned, this is the first of the season,” he said. Approximately 15,000 humpback whales frequent the main Hawaiian islands every year. Check back with the Molokai Dispatch at www.TheMolokaiDispatch.com during the week for more information.