State officials closed shoreline access at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve in South Maui today after a humpback whale carcass came ashore.
Maui County lifeguards and officers from the state’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement posted warning signs because carcasses often attract sharks, officials said.
State, county and National Marine Fisheries Service officials are trying to determine the best way to dispose of the carcass, which was found in a remote cove at Ahihi-Kinau. Officials said they are also consulting with Hawaiian cultural experts.
Additional closures or warnings may be imposed at Makena State Park and other areas, state officials said.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said this is the fifth whale carcass report since Nov. 11 in Hawaii, including two on Oahu, one on Molokai, and one earlier this week off the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.
DLNR officials caution beachgoers and ocean users to avoid whale carcasses. Humpback whales are protected by federal and state marine mammal laws, they said.