Jan 15, 2013
A baby humpback whale that was stuck on a reef in shallow waters off east Oahu has died. A fisherman spotted the animal at about 4 p.m. at Kawaikui Beach Park near Aina Haina. He called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for help.
“I saw the whale crashing around by the breakers. It was stuck in a lay net out there,” said fisherman Todd Motoyama of Hawaii Kai.
By the time NOAA officials arrived, the animal was no longer entangled. Experts said a net would not have caused the stranding, and that an illness or injury likely brought the calf close to shore.
“It is, however, severely traumatized. It has got cuts and contusions all over its body and trauma to the eyes, probably as a result of the stranding,” said David Schofield of NOAA’s marine mammal health program.
Schofield estimated that the animal was about 15 feet long and weighed up to 3,000 pounds. NOAA looked for the whale’s mother, but she had abandoned her baby.
“Baleen whales like this don’t usually do well in rehabilitation, so taking it to a facility is probably not an option,” explained Schofield. “The options are to let nature take its course and have it perish on its own, or potentially, euthanasia.”
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