Distressed baby whale lingers off Windward Oahu, shows signs of weight loss


A baby melon-headed whale remains in waters off Windward Oahu.

It was initially spotted Sunday off Kalama Beach, Kailua, and appeared to be searching for its mother.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Mammal Health and Response Program have been monitoring it ever since.

They say the whale, roughly four to five feet in length, has been alternating from 200 to 500 yards offshore, and is showing preliminary signs of weight loss.

NOAA previously found the remains of a whale, leading officials to believe the calf’s mother was attacked by a shark.

Program manager David Schofield says they’ve been discussing ways to aid the baby whale, from bringing it in to taking it out to join another pod of whales. None of the options appear feasible at this point, he added.

Schofield previously told KHON2 that they could only watch, wait, and monitor: “We would not attempt to rehabilitate a dependent calf. What a calf needs is its mother, its mother milk, its ability to teach it.”

NOAA says it’s possible the baby whale will either strand on the beach, or natural selection will take place. Hourly reports are being sent back to NOAA’s main office.

Shark warning signs remain posted in the area.

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