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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, April 25, 2002

Beached Maui whale dissected

Advertiser Staff

KIHEI, Maui — A veterinarian who examined a Blainville's beaked whale that beached itself in Kihei Tuesday found no obvious cause of death, officials said yesterday.

Tissue samples, the skull and some other parts of the whale's anatomy were saved for science and then the carcass was taken out to sea following a blessing at Ma'alaea Harbor by kahu Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell.

"We tried to get as much scientific value out of it as we could,'' said Jeff Walters, co-manager of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. He said tissue samples will be flown to laboratories for further analysis.

The toothed whale stranded itself at Kama'ole Beach Park I and died in front of a crowd of onlookers. The species is rarely seen because the whales prefer the open ocean.