Hawaii pilot spots badly injured whale
Birds in Paradise owner-flight instructor Gerry Charlebois photographed this mortally injured humpback whale off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
February 9th, 2011
12:06 PM ET

Hawaii pilot spots badly injured whale

A humpback whale with an apparently broken back has been spotted in waters near Hawaii, a newspaper reports.

Gerry Charlebois, who takes student pilot/tourists for coastal excursions in ultralight aircraft, spotted the injured whale from the air Monday in shallow water near Kauai.

"He wasn't moving his fluke and was just staying near the surface and sort of limping down the coast," he said. "It's kind of sad to see a full adult whale in that condition. ... It's definitely something he's not recovering from."

"This is one of the most disturbing sights I've ever experienced while photographing whales," Charlebois, the owner of Birds in Paradise Flight School, told The Garden Island Newspaper. "It was freaky. The whale was bent in half. Obviously some kind of blunt force trauma on the side. The poor guy was in trouble."

A large boat or ship must have struck the whale, which hasn't been seen since Monday, he said. Humpbacks normally are pretty agile, so this one may have been old or sick an unable to move out of a ship's way, he said.

Birds in Paradise manager Kirk Johnson said Charlebois and others on the flight first thought they'd seen an albino whale, but when they came around to take another look, they could see that it was discolored instead.

Ed Lyman of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary on Maui told the paper the whale appeared to be in poor health - emaciated, shedding skin and surrounded by parasites - and there is no established method for euthanizing a large whale.

These big whales tend to die slowly, Charlebois said. When they do, they sink to the bottom until decomposition gases make them float to the surface, where they attract large numbers of hungry sharks, he said.

"It's amazing to see these 15-foot sharks all feeding on a whale," Charlebois said. "You don't want to be snorkeling around there. You don't want to be in that neighborhood."

Charlebois said he and his three other pilots would look for signs of the injured whale again today.

About 2,000 humpback whales live in the waters off Alaska, and many of them migrate to Hawaii's warm waters between November and May, according to Earthtrust.org. Whale watching is a major part of Hawaii's tourism industry. Adult humpbacks range in size from 35 to 48 feet, and weigh about 1 ton per foot.

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Filed under: Animals • Environment • Hawaii • Whales
soundoff (615 Responses)
  1. Ras137

    Poor guy.
    Way to bring me down CNN!

    February 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake


      It was probably another whale that did it, not a human/boat.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Yeah like the boat hit the whale on purpose. Humans, just like all those nasty white tail deer that cause so many traffic fatalities every year.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • neoritter

      Because humanity should never have sailed across the oceans or discovered other continents. Here's an idea, cut out everything in your life that required a boat to transport. Have fun.'

      The whale was old and probably sickly, hence why he couldn't avoid the boat quick enough. OLD things die. SICK things die. That's nature. Deal with it.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amerrica

      Ps...are you not a human? animals clash all the time, this whale got hit by a human and I got stung by a bunch of bees once. maybe that makes sense maybe it doesnt.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • phearis

      What makes you say that Jake? My first thought was that the whale was probably sleeping near the surface and a boat T-Boned him.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moe Smith

      it's simply specualtion and purely conjecture to blame humans for this tragedy. Get off your high horse, put away your soap box, forget your wannabe druid empathy towards nature... had a boat done thing, there would have been very visible gouging on the back of the whale. Think about it... between the immense layers of muscle coupled with the equally think layers of blubber, it's highly unlikely a boat would have broken the whale's back and not taken CHUNKS out of the whale's back. Even in this grainy, blurry pic of the whale which is futher more distorted by the water, you can see it's back clear enough to tell no such damage exists.

      Fncking hippies, go back to your pot pipes and get off the internet... you're wasting space.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Moe Smith, you know, you can be a conservative and have empathy for God's creatures.

      What am I talking about? You only care about yourself. I blame Reagan. You're a jerk.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Troy

      Pre-existing condition, sorry, healthcare will not cover it

      February 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phoenix

      @Jake, please provide some reference to another whale doing that to another whale. I've never heard of such things.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendy

      Sad as it, is this is part of the circle of life. Unfortunately this whale will suffer but eventually will die and the it will feed the masses. After the sharks have their fill, the remains will once again sink and some creatures on the bottom will feed for months. We all should be more mindful and not waste so much. Plastic bottles do more harm then any of the ships sailing the open seas.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      @Troy: Hahaha, you're awesome.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Moe

      Hey buddy! There's nothing wrong with smoking the pipe. If all the blacks and Hispanics were smoking cigarettes, and the hemp companies were larger than the cotton industries instead, you would be ranting and raving against cigarettes. Please know your history and stop buying into mass media. Do you realize that you're most likely the result of abstinence-only education? The alcohol your mother drank to ease the depression of having to carry a bag of bricks around probably didn't help either. You sir, are a stupid waste of space.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ @Moe

      umm... how does knowing one's history have anything to do with either what Moe said or this article? Also, why are you singling out blacks and hispanics in regards to drug use / abuse? Racist much? You should have left a black space for your comment... what you had to say was worth quite a bit less. Bravo for being an idiot.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      I feel horrible for the whale. Nothing should have to be in that much pain that it probably is in. That being said, I don't think we should interfere. Does every animal that gets rabids and dies in the wild, do we have to go out looking through national parks and finding them and put them down?

      We need to do more to prevent this from happening again. Maybe it was already sick and that's why it was in a spot to get hit. We don't know right now. As a race, people interfere FAR TOO MUCH with animals and nature, thinking that we always know the best answer when we really don't, most of the time, IMO, it's just that there isn't someone out there to tell us that we're not always right

      February 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Flash

    Better call the whale wars folks to investigate

    February 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sarah

    Whales are an amazing creature. It's so sad that this one is suffering.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harold Anderson

      I completely agree! This is very sad.

      We need to do what it takes to prevent this from ever happening again. If we have to install a special sonar devices on the ships and make it a law that they must have them intalled then that is what must be done.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RH of WI

      It is sad. Wish there was something that could be done to help.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • NavyBM

      Unfortunately, attaching any type of sonar will probably do more harm than good. Sonar distrupts whale calls and has been associated with mass beachings. The only real way to keep those collisions from happening is diligent lookouts, sometimes the stopping or course correction for some of the massive ships make that impossible. With more frequent automation of navigation, and rebounding populations of large marine mammals in some areas, we will probably see an upswing in these type of very unfortunate accident.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • haskeli

      HUMANS are an amazing creature. It's EVEN SADDER that SO MANY ARE suffering.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Harold, you obviously have no clue the amount of equipment ships already carry on board. They would never be expected to know of floating objects under the water, only charted water depths (Which they got Sonar and charts for!) Adding another sonar would be pointless. Secondly, the U.S. Coast Guard would never put that through just to protect the possible 1 whale that was hit by a boat in who knows how many years.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I agree it's sad, but it's reality and part of life. You can't legislate it to "never happen again".

      February 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Weidermeijer

      @ Harold

      Ships have engines. Whales can hear them and can avoid them.

      I sail. Two of the worst objects to hit at sea are whales and shipping containers. Whales cannot hear sailboats easily and therefore are less likely to get out of the way.

      I suspect this whale was old and or dying anyway, which didn't allow it to get out of the way of the ship.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      This is to Tom. U know, in south africa a little while back, some "smart" whale jumped and tboned a sail boat! The casualty of this was the sail boat, not the whale, so the joke was on the whale... This must of been the opposite way, a whale getting itself tboned! And there is no such thing as whale scoliosis, but maybe we have found just the thing of it, nice going there guys...

      February 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kim

    So sad – btw how would a ship not know it hit a whale?

    February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayZ

      While they are big creatures, the tankers and cargo ships known to navigate that area are so massive that with their mass and momentum it would be like you knowing you hit a bug in your car.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • tmhrae

      Sadly, it's doubtful that they care.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      They most likely could care less what they hit. Marine life is just an obstacle to delivering "valuable" goods faster.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • PCola Vet

      Depnds on the size of the ship Kim, but even so, would it matter? I mean what could they do to help? Really sad story.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • NavyBM

      I've been on a pretty big vessel that hit a rather small whale off the coast of California, you definately know when you hit a whale. A bulbous bow will definately give and while steel hulls may be strong, but if you hit a whale and you're bound to have at least deformation, possibly flooding.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Weidermeijer

      When you are at sea on a ship, there are lots of noises and jerks, due to waves, wind, etc. It isn't like hitting a deer with your car or even a big rig where you immediately feel the hit. Maybe more like you are in your car and you hit a squirrel. Wait? Did I hit something? But with all the noises and jerking anyway, on the bridge, you most likely wouldn't question it anyway.

      There have been cases where a ship has pulled into port and they find a whale stuck to the bulbous bow.

      Ships can run down smaller vessels and have no clue they did it. THAT is when the 'law of gross tonnage' beats the 'rules of the road'. Stay out of the way of big ships, because they won't stop.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • NavyBM

      Ambient noise? Yes. Vibrations? Yes. Jerking? Unless your engineers have screwed up royally, you're going through some chop, or you have a worthless Conning Officer / Helmsman there isn't much 'jerking' around on the mid size to larger vessels in Navy, or on any of the container ships I've had the (dis)pleasure of visiting. The motion of the ocean is a wonderously SMOOTH feeling.

      Now the whale my ship hit, yes, I didn't realize it immediately, but the Sailor who was in the space adjacent to where the strike happened, sure did, and reported it to the bridge, not to mention the the mysteriously deformed bulkead.

      I will agree with you on one point... the law of gross tonnage is a universal constant.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Why try and euthanize it? Let nature take it's course and allow it to die as it should. It will feed many other aquatic animals, parisites, etc.. as it falls to the bottom of the ocean.

    Yes, it is sad to see and animal in this condition, but let nature run it's course.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Nature didn't break it's back in half. It did however provide human beings, who through scientific study, may be able to figure out a way to put it out of it's misery.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill smokes

      Yes, good idea. When you are hit by a car we will all just watch as you slowly die on the street. After all, let nature take its course. Bob, humans are different from most animals as we have the ability of effect and influence our environment. Since it is within out power to end this animals suffering, why shouldn't we do so? Perhaps god/nature is an ass and will let humans and animals needlessly suffer, but we need not.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Brian- Nature did injure it. Humans are from nature, the materials we use are from nature, even if we put together those materials in a factory....it is still from nature. Therefore, what happened was natural.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mpristave

      "Yes, good idea. When you are hit by a car we will all just watch as you slowly die on the street."

      Its not human, it is a whale.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • kabijo

      Right. Because ships and tankers are naturally occurring organisms in the environment. I saw one growing from a tree just this morning.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jet Fuel

      mpristave said "Its not human, it is a whale."

      Wow, you must have a room temperature IQ. If you had any reading comprehension skills at all, you would have noticed that Billsmokes said just as much in the same paragraph: "humans are different from most animals as we have the ability of effect and influence our environment. Since it is within out power to end this animals suffering, why shouldn't we do so? Perhaps god/nature is an ass and will let humans and animals needlessly suffer, but we need not." You're not too bright are you? You fail.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dante

      I agree w/ Bill Smokes. Is anyine reading this using glasses, contacts or after lasik? Anyone reading this ever have a filling or an antibiotic or wear a COAT? If we let "nature take its cours"e or you'd blind, suffering w/ strep throat or freezing....

      How is this even debatable? If you can prevent suffering, ANY kind of suffering, just DO it, & leave the BS out of it. I SWEAR so-many people on this page sound like that 1st-year philosophy major your daughter brings home from college during break.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • marina

      sad but true

      February 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • RH of WI

      Brian and Bill are both right! But untill we all start taking responsiblity for not harming our environment we are all guilty of harming animals. And maybe, that's the saddest part of all ~ we hurt our environment, our planet, animals, other humans because we want and want and want. I am as guilty as everyone else...and that's very sad.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @bill smokes – Maybe you should come out of your haze. While I don't want the animal to suffer anymore than necessary, your analogy is weak. If Bob were hit by a car, he would be taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries. At no time would the ER doctors consider euthanizing Bob. I am actually in agreement with you, but Bob has an excellent point, if there was some way to euthanize the whale, then we would have to find a way to dispose of its carcass.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      Huh? Think that thought through a little Bob. The options are/wre: 1) killing it now and saving it a few days of suffering or 2. letting it starve or drown after a few days of fruitless pain. Either way it's dead and still going to a big source of food for the critters in the area. How does ending its suffering a few days early going to change anything for the downstream concerns you give as reasons to let it suffer?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      @Really? and why, pray tell, would we have to find a way to dispose of the carcass exactly? Are you imagining they would life flight the way back to a holding tank where they kill it or something? I suggest that * sensible* people would find a way to kill it AT SEA. Where the body could then sink (and re-float) is it would have had otherwise after a "natural" death...

      Seriously people. THINK.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @ bill smokes and mpristave – I want to add that it is not within our power to euthanize the whale. Referring back to the article, "and there is no established method for euthanizing a large whale." This means that they have never done it before. Sure, they can work something out, but the animal is liable to die before they can make it happen. I am all for minimizing man's effects on the environment, but why do you "greenies" insist on berating individuals for the damage caused by the whole of humankind for centuries. Guilt is a negative emotion that only leads to negative results. "Greenies" should take a more positive approach rather than trying to punch their agendas and propaganda down people's throats. You might find it much more effective.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @ouka – BECAUSE the amount of chemicals required to euthanize a WHALE would be massive. Remember that the animals feeding on the carcass are much smaller than the whale. Consuming the whale could ultimately lead to the deaths of schools of sharks and other cannibalistic fish. Would that not have a devastating effect on the ecosystem?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • italk2whales

      They didn't say they would remove it from the food chain if they euthanized it. This whale will die a very slow and painful death. Why not put an end to the suffering this animal has been forced to endure? The carcass will still feed benthic life and then rise back up to feed the sharks. Either by human intervention or by natural causes in a few days or weeks this whale will die. If I were that whale I would want my suffering to stop. Its the humane thing to do

      February 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka


      Just because there is no established way of doing something doesn't mean it can't be figured out rapidly. Do you need a S.O.P. for everything you do in life? It's a large, mostly stationary animal in the water. Off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen ways to kill it. And if you really lack the imagination, then just call friggin Navy and have them torpedo it as a firing exercise.

      I wouldn't expect people to be carrying around a handbook on "Approved Methods of Cetacea Euthaniza" but I would expect folks to figure something out without referring to "Chapter 4, Shallow Water Operations"

      February 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      @Really? why in the world would you reach for a chemical?? That would just be stupid.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      Whales aren't stupid. They may not be flying around in airplanes, but they are self-aware and they know about life and death. If it wanted to die, all it has to do is stop breathing. It's obviously in pain but it's also clinging to life as long as it can. Euthanasia isn't a cut and dry topic either. Since they don't really know how to euthanize such a large animal, they could very well end up causing more pain and trauma.

      I can think of countless people who would take excruiating pain over death, every time. Think about the guy who cut his arm off to survive.

      I agree, though, that it sucks to see such a magnificient creature suffer. But at the same time the whale doesn't want to be euthanized, I can almost assure you of that.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @ouka – Then, what would you recommend? Generally, euthanization of an animal refers specifically to using medicines that stop the heartbeat. Shall we send the boat back out there to finish the job? Euthanization is meant to be humane and painless. Anything other than medicinal euthanization would not be painless.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka


      Whales breathe as a conscious act. Holding their breaths is actually the involuntary, unconscious act of their respiration. This is perhaps why whales beach themselves rather than drown themselves if they are suicidal. This particular whale doesn't have the ability to beach itself anymore so why do you assume it is fighting for survival?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @JT – You hit the proverbial nail on the head. My sentiments exactly. "Euthanizing" it could ultimately lead to worse consequences.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • @Ou

      1. Torpedo – releases all sorts of debris and chemicals into the water. Would you eat a deer I stuffed tnt into?

      2. Any other means of death – not likley to work instantanously, thus only increasing suffering before death.

      3. Get over yourself.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @ ouka – Why do you assume that its not? If it has the natural instinct to breathe, then it has the natural instinct to want to live. It is the instinct of all life to want to continue to live. If you believe survival is possible, why wouldn't you desire to survive?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "bill smokes"

      If I were hit by a car...then yes...I would want someone to help me...NOT PUT ME DOWN. Same should be with this whale. If we can help/cure it, then let's give it a shot. BUT...if we have decided it is past saving, let it die on it's own...like we do as humans.

      I've never liked the idea of killing something just becuase we (humans) think we know better, and think ending a life is better than allowing things to happen as they should.

      Years ago my friend's dog got cancer. The vet's reccomendation was to put it down. My friend just about had her put down, then decided spend a bit of money and have some of the tumors removed. 4 years later the dog past away...quietly in her sleep. Had he put her down, they would have lost 4 years of being together.

      Help where you can....bot don't kill because you THINK it might be the best thing for the animal.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka


      As I said, the natural instinct for a whale is to NOT breathe. There is no recovery for this whale and I suggest to you that it probably knows this, whales as an Order beach themselves over far less severe yet ultimately mortal wounds as a mater of routine. Unfortunately this particular whale has no way to beach itself anymore.

      And no, I seriously doubt debris in the whale carcass is seriously going to bother any of the scavengers that come down stream. It doesn't stop terrestrial critters, why would it stop aquatic?

      February 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Weidermeijer

      Well, Bob... if they can find it, they can put a bullet in it... a BIG bullet. They are not trying to save it. It will still go to feed others, just putting it out of its misery.

      Be careful when you get older and your kids want to 'take you out to the woods'.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "Tom Weidermeijer"

      Like I said...if I get sick or hurt please try and help me, but do not put me down. I would rather die a slow natural death...a death where I fought to live, than to have someone make that decision for me. My daughter would not take me "out to the woods" because she knows I want to go out on my own terms...not someone elses.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka


      So.. let me get this straight. You are: stranded in the wilderness with a broken back and a mortal and infected gut wound (read: zero percent chance of survival), a circling pack of small dogs waiting for you to kick it, and are being slowly being eaten alive by insects. You are going mad with pain but you know you won't die until starvation on stress kills you.

      A hiker finds you and has nothing that can help. No phone, radio, painkillers, or even a bandage. He does have a rifle. You'd elect to die slowly and in excruciating pain over a span of days? Really?

      February 9, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob


      I think I would probably choose to live as long as possible.

      The problem with your "hypothetical" situation is that you are giving me a "zero" chance of survival. Everyone is assuming the whale has a zero chance of survival....but we REALLY cannot say this for sure. As well...I can make a conscious decision to TELL the hiker to kill me. The whale CAN NOT tell a human to kill it...we are making that decision for it. Too many holes in your situation to point out, (a hiker has NO first aid supplies...but DOES have a gun...), but I do understand your point.

      I would still rather try and fight. It's a personal choice, and I have never been one to advocate assisted suicide. I do not condemn those who believe in assisted suicide, (my cousin committed suicide 2 years ago).

      Perhaps…if I was really in that situation, with a broken back…my choice might be different. BUT…I will have the ability to convey my decision to the hiker. I would not want the hiker to make that decision for me.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Weidermeijer

      Bob, I hear ya and I respect your opinion.

      I wish, as Americans, we were allowed that choice. You would like to go one way, while I, with a terminal disease, would prefer to call Dr. Jack... as I would never have my kids take me out for a walk to 'the farm'.

      Over the years, I have had to put down three of my dogs. I just wish we had a smilar option rather than suffering for suffering's sake.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka


      I can understand the desire to live at nearly any cost. But there is a difference between struggling to survive with even a vanishingly small chance of success, and forcing something to suffer an absolute and un-alterable horrific end when you have the ability to intervene.

      A whale with a broken back does not spontaneously get better. The chances of this being a "natural" condition as suggest by other posters is so laughably small as to be utterly ridiculous. May as well expect to be able to phase through a brick wall via random quantum tunneling – theoretically possible but absurdly unlikely. Think it through – you have a multi-ton adult critter that was in better health until recently. If born naturally with this deformity, how would it have dived for food? How would it have migrated across oceans? Predators or starvation would have taken it out long before it could have grown into an adult.

      it is starving to death while being eaten alive by parasites and other opportunistics. It can't move it's fluke and is thus unable to beach itself. Regardless of whether this was a man-made injury, or somehow the whale took a header into the sea floor, or lost a fight with another whale, or whatever, the fact remains that it is dying and there is no recovery. If we have the ability to end its fruitless suffering, why would we not? The "what-if" game you and others are playing is ridiculous. Occam's Razor if nothing else.

      Would you hit a deer and leave it suffering on the side of the road? I've seen hat before, it wasn't pretty. Beautiful 13-point buck got hit, broke it's spine and crushed it's hind quarters. The thing was mad with pain and terror. Rolling eyes, frothing mouth, bleeding internally. The thing had to suffer for at least an hour until the sheriff showed up and let a couple of ranchers put a bullet in it's head. This whale is no different, except for in scale.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "Tom Weidermeijer"

      This is where I agree with you Tom. I wish we had the choice to decide to end our own, individual suffering...rather than the government making that decision for us. I would make the choice to suffer a bit longer, my cousin did make the choice to go as quickly as possible.

      In regards to this whale....if we could determine that it wanted us to help it die....then I would wish it well and hope it finds the peace it is looking for. But..we can only guess, and this is what bothers me.

      My girlfriend at the time (now wife) had to put down 2 of her dogs...and I was right there beside them as the vet injected them. So I do understand what is involved in making that decision. It's tough......

      February 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @ ouka – The 'debris' from a torpedo is metal shrapnel. The scavengers are apart of the ecosystem and shrapnel would be harmful. So let me get this straight, the poor whale is dying a slow, painful death and you just want to blow it up with a torpedo and let the scavengers clean up the mess. Yeah, that sounds totally humane, ethical, and sanitary. I think you just like to argue even when your point is utterly pointless. There is no humane method to end this animal's life.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob


      Interesting points....caused me to think a bit more.

      I would have to know more...see if the whale was actually suffering...before I would make any decision. As with the deer situation..you would clearly see that the deer is in horrible pain. Tough to know what is going on with the whale fro just a picture and a report from a pilot.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka


      I responded to earlier, didn't notice that CNN ate the post. In fact now that I try there is something inherently objectionable to the CNN filters because this post written in 4 different ways is not going through. Breaking post up until I figure out the offending bit.

      Euthanasng does not necessarily mean no pain, just that you are killing to end suffering. Optimally you seek to minimize pain and stress, yes, but it is not a required clause to the definition of the act.

      The half-dozen methodologies I spoke of:

      February 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      pt 2

      1. Drowning the whale with fishing nets or just clogging the blow-hole. Stressful but better than being eaten alive by parasites IMO. Need a pair of fishing trawlers and a net, or a bunch of epoxy and a diver.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      pt 3

      2. As has done for centuries. Ask a "research vessel" for their SOP if needed. Not pain- and stress-free but still slightly preferable to the alternative IMO.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      pt 4

      3. Spinal dislocation with a shaped ordinance on a to back of neck. Instant, but somewhat risky for the crew performing. Minimal to no shrapnel depending on selection.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      Pt 5

      4. Depth charges dropped by heli around the whale, shock wave(s), not shrapnel, will do the deed.

      5. Direct Naval ordinance, more on shrapnel below.

      6. Last and least plausible, (as in absurdly goofy), electrocution. Hollywood-style.

      Re: shrapnel. Why do you assume that the derbies would be significantly harmful? Shrapnel doesn't tend to bother terrestrial scavengers, why do you assume that it will bother aquatic? For reference, I have run decomp studies in-situ before and scavengers tend to shrapnel like funny bones – ingest & pass the small stuff, eat around the big stuff. Can you give any good reasons why it would work differently in the water?

      I fail to see how any of the above is less humane than letting it be EATEN ALIVE while starving. yeah, that is more humane for sure.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      Interesting, apparently CNN filters don't like the word harp oon, among others I think, done testing now. Sorry for spam.

      February 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @ ouka – Okay. Try getting any of those recommendations past PETA, but beside the point, if the animal were just sick, then it would be in the same condition, it would not have made the news, and you would not have a say in the matter. Regardless, it is almost guaranteed that none of those things will be done. The animal will be allowed to die a natural death in the next couple of weeks and you will still be trying to argue about it. Sometimes it is best to stop while you are ahead, but it is a little late for that, isn't it?

      February 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "Experts are now saying a hobbled whale seen Monday near Hawaii's Kauai Island was not injured but suffers from a chronic condition, a local newspaper reports.

      The distressed humpback whale probably has scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, said David Schofield, marine mammal response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser."

      Still want to kill it?

      February 11, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. K C

    Very sad...It's hard to miss a huge animal, how could the people on the ship not see it? Much less realize that they had hit one?? I hope that the whale will not suffer for much longer..

    February 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You dont know much about being on the ocean do you?

      February 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • K C

      I'm sure they would of felt if they had hit something...

      February 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Old School

      Unfortunately no, large tankers and shippings barges would 'not' realize they had run over or skipped over a whale.. These things as the size of aircraft carriers, weigh much more, and travel at amazing speeds for their size.. Having done many deep sea fishing excursions and seeing these large ships – outrun 25-30ft boats that are at full throttle – I have no problem imagining a large ship crushing right through a whale pod that is trying to move out of the way – but one obviously did not.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sybaris

      1. It could have been at night
      2. Ships sit "in" water not on it.
      3. Waves and other natural occurances that cause vibration, noises, bumps etc.., on ships is rather ambient and go unnoticed
      4. Ships don't turn on a dime
      5. Maybe a ship didn't hit it

      February 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • dogmanmn

      Not a chance the vessel saw it or felt it. Go to a pier sometime, look at a container vessel, and tell me they would see this (relatively small compared to the ship) whale. If they did see it, it was WAY ahead of them and by the time they would get close to where it WAS, there is no way to know for sure that it is still there.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Weidermeijer

      Take for example a supertanker, a container ship or even a car carrier, their visibility of the water anywhere near the ship from the bridge is almost non-existant.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. desideesy

    Nature, huh? Natural like a cruise ship?

    February 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      How is a cruise ship not natural? Humans by nature enjoy leisure as do many other animals.....therefore it is natural.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Jim you clearly don't understand the context of the word natural being used here. A cruise ship is not natural. It is not composed of living cells. Man made objects are not natural. Period. They can be made of natural materials, but they are not natural.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos08

      Sure they can! We call beaver dams natural! Why can't we ever assert our rights as living animal! Why must we bend over backwards for all other animals! If a ship was what hit it, that ship was full of people trying to a job so they can eat and survive. Stop trying t villify people.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Samantha

    So Sad! Hope the poor thing isn't suffering anymore and has passed on.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Paul

    Poor whale. If they spot it they should just drive up along side and blow it away, I just don't see how a whale with a broken back could recover. Time to put it out of it's misery.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    Shouldn't ships be required to have some time of sonar scanning devices so they can avoid hitting whales? It should be some type of agreed upon global understanding for big ships such as cargo ships and cruise ships.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harold Anderson


      I completely agree!

      I can gurantee we have the technology to do it. They just need to install sonar devices on all the ships. To prevent something like this from ever happening in the future.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Palmetto

      High powered sonar is likely to do just as much damage as ramming.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • I like green beans

      So is this cargo ship supposed to hit a 90 degree turn if it's about to hit something? Come on...not realistic at all. What a cute idea but COMPLETELY out of the realm of possibility.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      My grandmother broke her hip, glad no one shot her!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Weidermeijer

      Whales can hear ships sounds, especially engines.

      Also most ships have depth sounders active when they are at sea. This is a form of sonar.

      I doubt if it was the case that the whale didn't know the ship was there.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JayZ

    I'd like to try whale meat. Ill bet you its like bacon.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparky

      I bet you're like an idiot

      February 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayZ

      Ill bet your humorless life sucks.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Old School

      and their 'humorous' life rivals your fake-rap wanna-be lifestyle, Mr Jay-Z?

      Quit trolling the internet and get back to answering the phones, 'bro'.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayZ

      Actually my names Jay and my last name starts with a Z. And who said I was a rapper? or black 'bro'?

      I do answer telephones at the jump to conclusions rug mat factory though, I checked and yours is on its way.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazingThought

      truth hurts mr Jay, don't it? No your last name doesn't start with a Z, and like I said – get back to answering the phones before I walk up on your desk 'bro'. I didn't say you were black – but funny how you bited at it. Everyone is a brother to me. Even you, bro! (btw you are, stand up and look back a few seats... dummy)

      February 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • hungry

      I've heard whales tastes like chicken.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos08

      I do to! Barbaque!

      February 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayZ

      Amazingthought = fail trollz

      February 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JW

    This saddens me.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BigAzSteele

    A ship hitting a whale is like a school bus hitting a large dog. You might feel it you might not. Add in waves and the motion of the ship. i doubt they felt anything. BTW even if they did see the whale, you can't stand onthe brakes or swerve to miss it like you're riding in your passanger car. A ship can take miles to come to a complete stop.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • I like green beans

      These bleeding hearts don't think things through before they post.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Or maybe not

    Sunlight,water and diffraction can make some pretty bad optical illusions. Before everyone freaks out lets try to remember the 747 that wasn't even close to the Golden Gates bridge and 'missile launch' off the coast of CA that was simply an airplane contrail.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jason mayer studio

    Cruise ship or tanker maybe hit it?

    February 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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