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Posted on Dec 1, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(Līhuʻe) – The carcass of a deceased adult sperm whale has washed up on an outer reef off the north shore of Kauaiʻi, near Pilaʻa Beach. Experts believe the whale died at sea 4 to 5 days ago and floated ashore.

While in a remote location, officials still caution that it is extremely unsafe to go anywhere near 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. The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has posted shark warning signs in the area, as a safety precaution.

As the whale decomposes, 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.

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.

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.

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

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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(All images courtesy: NOAA Fisheries)

Media contact:

AJ McWhorter
Communications Specialist
Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources
[email protected]
808-587-0396 (Communications Office)

Stefanie Gutierrez

Communications Specialist

NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office

[email protected]

Office: (808) 725-5000