Whale carcass a lode of information for researchers
The carcass of a rare beaked whale recovered in Häna this week will be a treasure chest of information for scientists.
The animal swam into Hamoa Bay on Monday, clearly struggling, and rescuers quickly mobilized to transport it to the University of Hawaiçi-Hilo’s new dolphin and small whale hospital. But the whale died on the beach just a few minutes after it was first reported.
The 1,000-pound carcass was flown to Honolulu by Aloha Air Cargo on Tuesday afternoon, where a necropsy and other studies could reveal new secrets about a little-known species, according to David Schofield, the marine mammal response network coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The whale appears to be a 12-foot juvenile Cuvier’s beaked whale or a Blainville’s beaked whale. An autopsy will reveal which. The head also will be put through a CT scanner.
Beaked whales are so rare and spend most of their time so far offshore that scientists know little about them.