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Scientists rule out disease in Kauai whales’ death


Hawaii News Digest, 30 November 2017, 0455 UTC, Post #16052.


Accessed on 30 November 2017, 0455 UTC.

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Marine scientists investigating the mass stranding of five pilot whales on Kauai’s Kalepaki Beach on 13 October 2017 have rejected disease as the cause of the beaching.  Investigators believe that “something sudden must have triggered the stranding.” What that “something” is remains unknown.

After ruling out disease, marine mammal experts said the pilot whales “did not show signs of trauma from underwater noise impacts.”  The U.S. Navy added that it didn’t conduct any sonar experiments within 24 hours of the stranding.

Kauai State Representative Dee Morikawa feels the whale stranding may be tied to the use of rat poison on Lehua Island, a seabird sanctuary north of Niihau:

“There are too many bold statements that say, ‘There is no way that the rat poison could have had any consequence to the whales.’ And maybe it’s true…But it’s just so coincidental. Common sense tells me that if the whales pass Niihau and they see a whole lot of dead fish or sick fish or squid or whatever, they’ll have a field day eating them. And that’s what I’m suspecting happened.”

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Until next time,

Russ Roberts

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