Sperm Whale on the Beach at Lydgate Beach Park

Article in The Garden Island, by Dennis Fujimoto.

Lydgate Park and the portion of Ka Hele Makala’e multi-use path in the park are closed until further notice, officials said on Sunday. The closure is necessary due to a beached whale and final disposition of the animal that was first reported Friday evening aground on the reef at the park’s south end.

While not barricaded due to the movement of heavy equipment and official responding agency traffic, the closure to the general public is being coordinated by personnel from the Kaua’i Police Department and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

Several agencies, including the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Works, Kaua’i Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau, Kaua’i Police Department and the DLNR, Native Hawaiian practitioners and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration responded to the beached whale on Saturday morning.

Sunday, a team from the University of Hawai’i Health and Stranding Lab were conducting on-site examinations of the 56-foot-long, 60-ton sperm whale to determine the cause of death for the palaoa, or sperm whale. The whales are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Results of these test aren’t expected for several weeks.

Additionally, shark warning signs have been posted on the beach in the area surrounding the carcass, and the public is asked to not cross the yellow tape during the continuing operation.

“For everyone’s safety, we request the public’s cooperation during this response effort,” said the DLNR’s Dan Dennison in a statement.

Photo by Dennis Fujimoto