Dead whale removed, buried at secret location on Kaua‘i; beach remains closed
January 30, 2023, 5:48 PM HST
A disappearing act of colossal proportions has taken place at on the East Side of Kaua‘i, after county, state and federal personnel worked through the weekend to remove a 60-ton sperm whale from the shore of Lydgate Beach Park — and bury it at an undisclosed location.
Despite the whale’s complete removal by the end of Sunday – when nothing remained but strips of yellow caution tape, several “shark sighted” signs and four excavators – Lydgate Beach Park will remain closed until Feb. 1.
There remains park maintenance to do in the wake of removing the 56-foot-long beached palaoa (Hawaiian for sperm whale), which was discovered Friday evening.
“With the assistance of the Department of Public Works, crews will be on-site with heavy machinery to remove debris in the vicinity of Morgan’s Ponds and complete clean-up work resulting from the beached whale over the weekend,” according to county spokesperson Alden Alayvilla.
The whale’s final resting place is being kept a secret to prevent desecration.
Communications Manager Dan Dennison with the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources deferred questions related to the whale’s interment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But he did say whale burial locations are not publicized to avoid the taking of body parts of a protected species, which is illegal under federal and state laws.
A group of several Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners conducted protocols throughout the weekend’s whale-removal efforts. A senior member declined to speak publicly on the topic Monday, citing her wish to receive permission from her fellow participants first.