HONOLULU (KHON2) – Researchers said they were shocked and saddened to find several manufactured items inside the stomach of a sperm whale that washed up on Kauai.
56 foot long whale Perched on a cliff opposite Lydgate Park On Friday, January 27th.
Get the news on the go with KHON 2Go, KHON’s Morning Podcast, every morning at 8am
Heavy equipment was used to bring the whale to the beach and researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa got to work – searching for clues about its death.
The researchers said they found at least six hagfish nets and seven types of fishing nets. In addition, there were plastic bags of two types, a light protector, a fishing line, a float from a net, and the remains of hunted animals.
Health and Director of the Stranding Lab, Dr. “The size of the opening from the intestinal tract into the abdomen is relatively small and there is certainly a sufficient amount of foreign objects to cause a blockage,” explained Kristy West. “The presence of undigested fish and squid provides further evidence of a blockage.”
However, due to the enormous size of the 60-ton whale, researchers have yet to examine the full extent of the whale’s stomach.
As they continue to search for the underlying cause of death, follow-up tests – including pathological tests – will be performed on samples from its various organ systems.
View more news from around Hawaii
“These man-made objects tend to persist in the ocean for a very long time, and we hope we can learn from this,” said Edward Kekoa, from the Department of Aquatic Resources’ Department of Land and Natural Resources. “At the very least prevent any more gear, plastic bags and other items from getting into the system.”