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DLNR News Release-Sperm Whale Carcass Towed Out to Sea, Jan. 12, 2019

Posted on Jan 1, 2019 in Latest Department News

(Honolulu) – A cooperative operation between city & county, state, and federal government agencies resulted in the successful removal of a decomposing whale carcass from shallow waters fronting Sand Island State Recreation Area.

The sperm whale carcass, first reported on Thursday about a mile from Kewalo Basin, ended up on the reef on the Ewa end of the park on Friday.  This morning at 9:30 a DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) boat, began towing the whale out to sea. Almost four hours later it was released into deep ocean water, 15 miles off O‘ahu’s south shore. When first spotted numerous, large tiger sharks were feeding on it.

In addition to DOCARE and the NOAA Marine Mammal Response Program, other participants in the removal included the University of Hawai‘i stranding team, City and County of Honolulu Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Division, the U.S. Geological Survey, and a Hawaiian cultural practitioner.

The DLNR Division of State Parks posted closed signs in the area yesterday and based on advice from NOAA the signs will remain in place for now.  Experts caution people from entering the water, as they say there is a lot of “whale material” remaining in the area.

On Sunday, outrigger canoe races are scheduled inside Ke‘ehi Lagoon and officials wanted to ensure the area was safe and clear of sharks prior to these events.

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Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

Hawaii Dept. of Land & Natural Resources

Communications Office

[email protected]

[email protected]


(808) 587-0396 (Communications Office)

(808) 587-0407 (Direct Line)