Dead whale shuts
Officials are warning that
sharks may also be in the area
Bellows Beach in Waimanalo is closed through tomorrow and warning signs for sharks were posted at neighboring beaches after the carcass of a juvenile humpback whale washed ashore yesterday.
Ocean safety officials have placed warning signs from Kailua boat harbor to Sherwood Beach and recommend that people stay out of the water, said Delores Clark, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The carcass, which scientists determined has been dead for several days, shows signs of shark bites.
Clark said she saw sharks swimming in the area yesterday and said officials will patrol for sharks.
Officials planned to try and remove the whale last night, using city dumptrucks and front-end loaders, with Hickam Air Base manpower and night lights, Clark said.
City spokeswoman Carol Costa said the whale will be buried at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. Costa also said that the city camping area adjacent to Bellows Beach was closed and campers were sent home.
The cause of the whale's death was unknown yesterday, but Clark said samples taken from its body could help determine it. DNA from the blubber will allow NOAA officials to determine the whale's sex, whether it has been previously tagged and whether it has dangerous levels of toxins.
Workers with Hickam and Bellows Air Force bases, the Honolulu Police Department, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and city lifeguards all conferred at the scene yesterday, Clark said.
Clark said the last time she recalled a dead whale washing up in Hawaii was last year in Hauula.
To report a whale emergency, call the NOAA Fisheries' toll-free 24-hour marine mammal emergency hotline at (888) 256-9840.