Watch: Officials respond to dead sperm whale beached at Lydgate Beach in east Kaua‘i
This story was updated at 3:10 p.m. Jan. 28.
Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources and Kaua‘i County are responding to a dead palaoa, or sperm whale, that was beached at Lydgate Beach on the eastern coastline of Kaua‘i.
The whale was first reported Friday evening on the reef off the beach. High tide brought it ashore Saturday morning, according to a news release from the state Land Department.
Native Hawaiian practitioners have been conducting cultural protocols as heavy equipment is attempting to move the 56-foot, 60-ton carcass onto the beach. Spectators are being kept back and are asked not to cross the yellow tape during the continuing operation.
Shark warning signs also have been posted on the beach.
The cause of the whale’s death is unknown. A team from the University of Hawai‘i Health and Stranding Lab will conduct an onsite examination of the carcass in an effort to determine cause of death once it can be moved from the water onto the beach.
Planning also is underway for final disposition of the whale’s remains.
Sperm whales are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. For more information on the species, click here.
“Sadly, the wonderful beast is dead,” said an 11:10 a.m. tweet by @OutcomeOptimist. “Hubby didn’t know and stopped on his way home to see how the pond was. I knew about the whale because of the county’s post. Hubby was kind of relieved that I already knew. It made him sad to tell me.”
“What a total bummer,” @Princess0nMaui replied.
A video of the beached whale was posted just before noon Saturday in the What’s Happening Kaua‘i Facebook group.
Kaua‘i County Parks and Recreation closed Lydgate Beach early Saturday because of the beached whale. No swimming is allowed while the operation to remove the whale carcass is ongoing, and beachgoers are asked to avoid the area.
For everyone’s safety, the public’s cooperation is appreciated during the response effort.