Sickly humpback whale spotted in Hawaii waters

August 27, 2016
This image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a humpback whale sighted off Maui, Hawaii. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow said Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, that 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. (Ryan Hall/NOAA via AP)

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 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.

This image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a humpback whale sighted off Maui, Hawaii. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow said Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, that 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. (Ryan Hall/NOAA via AP)

Explore further: Humpback whales slow to arrive in Hawaii

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