Posted by: The ocean update | November 6, 2015

Stranded whale euthanized on Oahu’s North Shore (Hawaii, USA)

Ke'iki Beach, Oahu

Ke’iki Beach, Oahu

November 6th, 2015 (Andrew Pereira). KE IKI BEACH, Hawaii – A young melon-headed whale that stranded itself on Ke Iki Beach on Oahu’s North Shore was euthanized shortly before dark Thursday.

David Schofield with NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Response Program said the whale was unlikely to survive any attempt at rehabilitation.

“The assessment was that the animal was in a severe state of shock and looked underweight and dehydrated,” he said. “It likely would not have made the trip to Marine Corps Base Hawaii for an effort at any type of care.”

Ed Sibylline : it’s why it’s important to have mobile structure to hospitalize in situ, allowing time to ensure that the animal is stabilized to withstand travel.

Bystanders discovered the whale at about 2:30 p.m. on the Sunset Beach side of Sharks Cove and immediately called for help. Kaneohe Veterinarian Greg Levine and members of the Marine Mammal Stranding program at Hawaii Pacific University responded to the request and began assessing the animal’s condition.

Shortly before dark the whale was taken off the beach and placed in the back of a pickup truck where Dr. Levine administered an injection to put the animal to sleep. Before researchers arrived on the scene bystanders had placed wet towels on the whale’s back and gently doused it was sea water.

“Whales and dolphins can overheat very, very quickly on land, and so they were doing the right things by pouring buckets of water on the animal and trying to make it as comfortable as possible,” said Schofield.

Experts believe the juvenile whale was still dependent on its mother and would have likely fallen prey to sharks or stranded itself again if placed back in the ocean.

Researchers will conduct a necropsy on the animal to try and determine why it beached itself and whether it was suffering from any illness. The whale will then be cremated and a traditional Hawaiian ceremony held to honor its passing.

Anyone who comes across a distressed marine animal is urged to call the NOAA hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

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