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Sperm whale carcass will decompose on Lanai beach

Federal and state officials are monitoring a sperm whale carcass in the nearshore waters of Lanai.

The whale is located in a place where towing it to sea or burying it on land is not possible because of weather and wind, and it will be left in place to decompose, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman said today. NOAA, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, other partners, and Hawaiian cultural practitioners will monitor the carcass.

The adult sperm whale’s stranding was first reported on Jan. 9. Sperm whales are an endangered species and all parts of the whale, including its bones and teeth, are protected by federal law. Bones should not be removed from the carcass or collected unless authorized, NOAA said.

An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the whale’s death. NOAA warned the public to stay away from the carcass because it may cause disease to humans or pets and attract sharks.

Call 1-888-256-9840 to report any marine mammal strandings.

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