Posted by: The ocean update | December 19, 2015

Officials discover cause of death for false killer whale (Hawaii, USA)

Photo by Ian Chun.

Photo by Ian Chun.

December 19th, 2015 (Tom Callis). A deceased false killer whale found near South Point last month died from abnormal blood clot formations in its heart and lungs, according to state officials.

The 1,300-pound animal was found in early November along the shoreline and transported by a flatbed truck to Kona International Airport, where it was flown to Honolulu for examination.

The local false killer whale population is considered genetically distinct and endangered.

David Schofield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine mammal response manager, told the Tribune-Herald last month that there are about 200 living near Hawaii.

Local resident Rodney Kauhiwinui found the animal’s body and notified Division of Aquatic Resources staff member John Kahiapo, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a press release.

He later used an engine hoist and his own flatbed truck to transport it.

“Without the unwavering efforts of Rodney and John we would not have been able to find out why this animal died,” said Kristi West, head of Hawaii Pacific University’s stranding program, in the release. “From my perspective, they really are heroes.”

DLNR said only three Hawaiian false killer whales have been reported stranded in the past 18 years.

“With less than 200 individuals alive today, every piece of information is critical” West said. “If we want to understand the threats facing these animals we need the public’s help.”

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