Dead sperm whale still off North Shore beach

  • Courtesy / NOAA Fisheries

    The deceased sperm whale off Pila‘a Beach is rapidly decomposing. Nearby Kahili Beach, also known as Rock Quarry, remains closed due to shark sightings.

PILA‘A BEACH — The deceased sperm whale caught on a North Shore reef is rapidly decomposing, one week after state and federal agencies reported its appearance.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe the adult animal died at sea four to five days before it washed ashore.

DLNR, NOAA and stranding-response partners have decided to allow natural decomposition, which has been assisted by heavy surf conditions, to continue in place, a spokesperson told The Garden Island, noting plans may adjust “if necessary.”

In the meantime, nearby Kahili Beach, also known as Rock Quarries, remains closed due to shark sightings.

DLNR and NOAA had advised beachgoers that tiger sharks would likely be drawn to the area to feed on the whale, in a joint statement released last week.

The agencies also advised pet owners to keep dogs away from any whale tissue that may wash ashore, to avoid consumption and potential subsequent illness.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers are patrolling the Pila‘a Beach area to ensure the carcass remains undisturbed.

“It is illegal to possess marine-mammals parts, including whale bones and teeth, as they are protected under state and federal laws,” the NOAA spokesperson said.

To report a live or dead stranded marine mammal or sea turtle, contact the NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline, 1-888-256-9840, or the DLNR DOCARE Hotline: 808-643-DLNR. Reports can also be submitted via or the DLNRTip App.


Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or

  1. Rev Dr Malama December 8, 2021 6:51 am Reply

    How completely incompetent of dlnr… who should have towed the carcass out to sea but probably expect Zuckerberg to do the State’s dirty work…. because it landed on the upwind side of their fortress!!!
    Stay tuned….. for more sickening shenanigans from collusion of State and billionaires. Soap opera named “As the Stomach Turns”.

  2. andy December 8, 2021 3:42 pm Reply

    Hey Rev
    Did you check the surf on the North Shore this past week? Apparently not, or you wouldn’t have made such a silly comment about the DLNR towing that thing out of there. Besides, what’s wrong with letting the carcass decompose naturally, the way they’ve been doing for millenia? Bon appetit to the sharks and all the other critters who are helping that process along!

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