TV Reporter: “Woah! Dead whales!” Record high number of deaths in Hawaii — “Carcasses scattered throughout islands” in Pacific — Sick and starving animals a ‘mystery’ to experts — “Possible health effects” from Fukushima radiation off coast (VIDEO)

Published: February 5th, 2017 at 5:10 pm ET
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KGMB, Jan 17, 2017 (emphasis added): Officials investigate record number of humpback whale deaths… Six humpback whale carcasses have washed up onto Hawaii shores since November. That’s double the number typically found in a season, which runs from November to May… The previous record [of five] whale carcasses found in Hawaii waters was in 2013… Biologists aren’t sure what’s behind the increase in deaths. “It is higher than usual. It’s almost double this early in the season for what we’d get in a whole season,” said [NOAA's] David Schofield… Since November, whale carcasses have been scattered throughout the main Hawaiian islandsBiologists are investigating to see if the whales starved or if there’s a problem with the ocean’s healthofficials will be meeting with partners in Alaska and Washington D.C. to investigate further.

KGMB reporter Mahealani Richardson, Jan 17, 2017: Woah! Dead whales! Wildlife officials are investigating a mystery over a record number of humpback whale deaths

Other recent whale deaths in Hawaii

KHON, Nov 22, 2016: Beached melon-headed whale euthanized on Maui… “The body condition was significantly compromised…” said [NOAA's] Aliza Milette-Winfree… a necropsy will be done to determine what made it sick.

KHON, Oct 23, 2016: A pregnant dwarf sperm whale found dead on Maui’s Makena shoreline… this is very unusual because these whales normally live in deep waters… samples have been sent to the mainland to see if the whale also had any diseases… [NOAA] reported that a witness saw two small whales stranded in Makena…

AP, Aug 26, 2016: Experts are reporting the sighting of a sickly humpback whale off Maui. [NOAA's] Malia Chow said Friday the animal is emaciated and covered in whale lice… She says the animal’s poor condition is a mystery.

Hakai Magazine, May 25, 2016: No-Show Pacific Ocean Humpbacks Stump Scientists… Whale researchers from around the Pacific are reporting that far fewer whales showed up in their usual wintering grounds…  [NOAA's Ed Lyman] says he started noticing changes in December 2015… [He] was getting calls from tour boat operators asking where the whales were. “Something happened this year,” agrees Jim Darling, a researcher with the nonprofit Whale Trust Maui. “It almost seemed as if the females didn’t bother to show up”… the density of cows and calves was especially low… Darling also reported hearing from colleagues in the Philippines and Japan of similarly low whale numbers… Also striking was the low number of calves… Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, also saw fewer whales than normal says Oscar Frey, an oceanographer… he observed “the least number of mothers with babies that I have ever seen.”

How about in 2017? — The Garden Island, Jan 30, 2017: Annual whale count… [Jean Souza, HINMS Kauai programs coordinator] said the Kauai sites… saw an average of four whale viewings within a 15-minute time count period… down from the six sightings of the 2016 count.

Dr. Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Jan 7, 2017: “We know there can be health effects from exposure to any amount of radiation… the highest level we’ve seen north of Hawaii is 10 Becquerels per cubic meter. Swimming through that for eight hours a day for an entire year could have possible health effects, but that additional dose is one thousand times smaller than a single dental X-ray.”

Watch KGMB’s broadcast here

Published: February 5th, 2017 at 5:10 pm ET
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230 comments

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