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Rare whale rescued on Maui dies of pneumonia

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 1:52 p.m. HST, Aug 30, 2010


A rare Blainville's beaked whale rescued on Maui earlier this month died yesterday from pneumonia and other ailments.

A necropsy performed last night disclosed that the male whale suffered from moderate pneumonia, severe gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease and deteriorating body condition.

The 110-foot-long, 1,800-pound whale was rescued in shallow waters Aug. 16 from South Maui and flown to the University of Hawaii at Hilo Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility for marine mammals that opened in December.

A group of 15 to 20 volunteers have been working around the clock to help save the whale.

No beaked whale has ever survived to the point where it could be released back into the wild, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.

Beaked whales are deepwater swimmers that are rarely seen, and less than 20 have been held in captivity. 

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