A Blainville’s beaked whale is being taken care of at the Hawaii Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility in Hilo. The 1,800 pound whale is the only one of its species to ever be in rehab in Hawaii.
She was flown to Hilo for treatment after being observed swimming back and forth in shallow waters in Kihei, Maui. Professor Jason Turner from the University of Hawaii-Hilo said, “There are no known cases of a beaked whale being successfully rehabilitated and released, so we understand the challenge we’re facing. But this animal is stabilizing and improving, and if we continue to see that for a month or two, then she just might become that first success story.” The whale is being attended to 24 hours a day by vets, marine science students, and marine biologists. Tests suggest the problem might be a kidney disorder. The Hawaii Marine Mammal Response Network is also a part of the rehab effort.
In Hawaii waters, there are an estimated 1,200 to 2,200 Blainesville beaked whales. They are not often seen due to having a small breathing blow and remaining in deep waters. It is thought they might be very sensitive to man-made sounds, because of strandings after naval military exercises which generated loud underwater sounds.
Video Showing Beaked Whale with Baby
Image Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific
Note: The whale pictured above is not a Blainesville. This is a young Stejneger’s Beaked Whale.