Two whales in separate pod euthanized after Sugar Beach stranding

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that two pygmy killer whales stranded at Kihei’s Sugar Beach on Tuesday morning had to be euthanized based on their health.

David Schofield, NOAA regional stranding coordinator, said the two were part of a pod of six being monitored in the area since Sept. 13.

Tuesday’s stranding is separate from the mass stranding event Aug. 29, when 10 pygmy killer whales, adult and sub-adult animals, were stranded alive on Sugar Beach. A dead calf of the same species, likely 3 to 6 months old, was found later in the day, NOAA said. Six of the 10 live whales, originally thought to be melon-headed whales, were refloated back to the ocean. The four remaining whales that were euthanized due to health reasons, along with the dead calf, were later shown to have lung abnormalities and possibly fighting infections, a NOAA report said.

Schofield, along with veterinarians, responded Tuesday morning to Sugar Beach after the stranding was reported at 5:55 a.m. He later said the two had to be euthanized due to health reasons. Results of testing will not be known for weeks, Schofield added.


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