Navy sonar suspected in Hawaii whale death

July 30, 2008 at 11:08 AM
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HONOLULU, July 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy says it is premature to blame the beaching of a whale in Hawaii on nearby exercises using sonar.

KITV-TV in Honolulu said Wednesday that the 2,500-pound Cuvier's beaked whale was euthanized this week after repeatedly beaching itself on the island of Molokai.

Environmentalists contended that sonar echoes produced during the Navy's RIMPAC exercises may have scrambled the whale's own internal sonar; however the Navy said that would be "speculative."

Scientists are largely siding with the Navy so far and not assigning blame pending further investigation.

"People should understand that whales strand for all sorts of reasons," Chris Yates of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told KITV.

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