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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Whale carcass on Kauai may have drifted from Oahu


By Paul C. Curtis
The Garden Island

POIPU Federal officials think a decomposing humpback whale calf that washed ashore Monday night at Poipu may have floated all the way from Oahu.

A dead whale was reported floating around 14 miles off Oahu's Kaena Point on Friday, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel said the carcass was drifting west-southwest, said David Schofield, marine mammal response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's possibly the same whale that ended up on the rocky shoreline fronting the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Resort & Spa, he said.

Federal and Hyatt crews worked to remove the decaying, smelly carcass Tuesday morning while dozens of onlookers including residents and hotel guests watched.

Diann Hartman, Hyatt public relations manager, said around 20 Hyatt employees from different departments pitched in to remove the carcass from a reef after security personnel saw it around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

They called federal, state and county officials to report the find, and were guided by Dr. Mimi Olry, Kauai marine mammal response specialist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, on proper disposal techniques, Hartman said.

She estimated around 1,000 pounds of whale carcass was buried in a shallow grave in the sand.

The "very decomposed" carcass is thought to be a humpback whale calf based on the time of year it washed ashore, though many pieces of the carcass had been removed, probably by sharks and other predators, Schofield said.

On the Net:

Read the complete story in The Garden Island: http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/article_99d36be8-580f-11df-bb9b-001cc4c03286.html