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Carcass of Sperm Whale Washes Ashore on Kauaʻi

December 1, 2021, 3:50 PM HST
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The carcass of a deceased adult sperm whale has washed up on an outer reef off the north shore of Kauaiʻi, near Pilaʻa Beach, state officials reported Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Experts believe the whale died at sea four to five days ago and floated to the remote shore.

Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources advise the public to stay away from the whale carcass.

“Tiger sharks will likely be drawn to the area to feed on the deceased whale, and high surf is expected for the area,” according to a DLNR press release. “The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has posted shark warning signs in the area, as a safety precaution.”

As the whale decomposes, DLNR officials say oils and tissue from the carcass will likely wash ashore. Currents are moving toward the Kahili/Rock Quarry area. Owners should keep dogs and other pets away from the material, so they donʻt eat it and get sick.

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Officials also caution that it is against both federal and state law to remove any body parts or bones from protected marine species, like sperm whales.

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The National Oceanic Atmosperic Administration (NOAA)  and DLNR are working with a Native Hawaiian practitioner to help ensure stranding response actions are culturally respectful.

“This palaoa is a gift to the overall coastal ecosystem and will provide nourishment for crabs, snails, sharks, and other wildlife,” the release stated.

NOAA, DLNR, and other stranding response partners will continue monitoring the situation to determine if any further examination, documentation, or other actions are necessary.

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To report a live or dead stranded marine mammal or sea turtle, contact the NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline: 1-888-256-9840, or the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) Hotline: 808-643-DLNR. Reports can also be submitted via [email protected] or the DLNRTip App.

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