Oahu Sperm Whale Carcass Revealing Its Secrets

HONOLULU, OAHU (Ben Caxton) — A sperm whale carcass on a remote West O’ahu beach is slowly giving up its secrets to researchers according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Both scientists and cultural experts are not only trying to determine what killed it, but to also expand on understanding of the species’ behavior, like what they eat, how marine debris may or may not be impacting them, and how carcasses degrade in place as part of a natural ecosystem. The whale’s carcass has been present in the water around O`ahu since at least January 10th, when it was first spotted outside Kewalo Basin. It then ended up on a rock outcropping perpendicular to Sand Island State Recreation Area. On January 12th it was towed approximately 15-miles out into the open ocean. But during the next week, currents brought it back to land. A second towing attempt January 17th was called off due to rough seas. A third, successful attempt on January 19th got the carcass about two and a half miles offshore but went no further as the boat towing it was taking on water. Once again ocean currents again brought it onto land and onto the beach where it currently rests. The DNLR along with NOAA have now decided to just leave the carcass in place, and let nature take its course.

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