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Necropsy inconclusive on what killed whale on Waianae Coast

By Marcie Kagawa

LAST UPDATED: 4:31 p.m. HST, Mar 4, 2013

Results were inconclusive from a necropsy to determine what caused the death of a humpback whale calf that washed ashore on the Leeward Coast.

The dead whale was discovered around 11 a.m. Sunday on the coastline in back of Waianae High School. Scientists estimate the calf died within 24 hours before it was discovered.

The carcass was towed to the Waianae Small Boat Harbor and later taken to Hawaii Pacific Univerity, Hawaii Loa campus, where the necropsy was performed.

A team of HPU students and faculty and NOAA scientists performed the necropsy Sunday night.

“At this point, we really don’t know why the whale died,” said Kristi West, an associate biology professor at HPU and director of the university’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program said Monday. “There were no signs of entanglement or a vessel strike, all organ systems looked really good, and there were no signs of disease or infection.”

Samples will be sent to local and mainland laboratories for testing to find any potential causes of death related to disease or virus. Results could take up to a few months.

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