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Possible pygmy sperm whale carcass recovered in Pearl Harbor channel

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:33 p.m. HST, Feb 5, 2014

What initially appeared to be a large dead dolphin washed into the Pearl Harbor channel this morning is now thought to be a pygmy sperm whale, a Hawaii Pacific University scientist said this afternoon.

Kristi West, an HPU biology professor, said based on a description of the decomposed carcass, the sea animal is probably a pygmy sperm whale. West whose research team is in charge of conducting a necropsy, said she'll know more once she receives the dead animal at the university's facility later this afternoon.

The dead animal was reported through a whale stranding hotline this morning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

West said the carcass is extensively decomposed, about 12 feet long and weighs about one ton.

Federal fisheries officials retrieved the carcass and have taken it to a Ford Island facility. West said she's unsure about whether the team will be able to determine the cause of death because of the animal's decomposed state.

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