HONOLULU — Hawaii humpback whale experts are reporting the sighting of a sickly humpback whale off Maui.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow said Friday the animal is emaciated and covered in whale lice. At least four sharks were following the whale. She says these are all indicators of a whale in distress.

She says the whale isn’t entangled and doesn’t appear to have been struck by a vessel. She says the animal’s poor condition is a mystery.

Hawaii’s humpback whales normally spend their summers feeding in cold places like Alaska and return to the islands in September or October.

Chow says it’s not clear whether this whale is one of the first sightings of Hawaii’s upcoming whale season or if this whale stayed around from last season.

VIAThe Associated Press
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