Humpback whales' slow to return to Hawaii could be sign of growth: experts

HONOLULU -- December usually marks the start of humpback whale season in Hawaii, but experts say the animals have been slow to return this year.

See Full Article

The giant whales are an iconic part of winter on the islands and a source of income for tour operators. But officials at the Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary said they've been getting reports that the whales have been difficult to spot so far.

"This isn't a concern, but it's of interest. One theory was that something like this happened as whales increased. It's a product of their success," said Ed Lyman, a Maui-based resource protection manager and response co-ordinator for the sanctuary.

"What I'm seeing out there right now I would have expected a month ago," said Lyman, who was surprised by how few of the animals he saw while responding to a call about a distressed calf on Christmas Eve. "We've just seen a handful of whales."

It will be a while before officials have hard numbers because the annual whale counts don't take place until the last Saturday of January, February and March, according to former sanctuary co-manager Jeff Walters.

"They don't necessarily show up in the same place at the same time every year," Walters said.

More than 10,000 humpback whales make the winter journey from Alaska to the warm waters off Hawaii to mate and give birth.

Lyman said the whales' absence could just mean they're spending more time feeding in northern waters, possibly because of El Nino disruptions or because their population has gone up.

"With more animals, they're competing against each other for that food resource, and it takes an energy of reserve to make that long migration over 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometres)," he explained.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • 'Every plant and animal is useful to us': Indigenous professor re-thinking how we deal with invasive species

    Tech & Science CBC News
    When invasive species show up, Western science tells us they should be dealt with. But Nicholas Reo wonders whether we should instead ask why they're here in the first place. Reo, an anthropology professor at Dartmouth College, researches how invasive species mitigation could be approached differently — and as a citizen of the Sault Ste. Source
  • Police try to unlock phone with dead man's finger in Florida

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LARGO, Fla. - Florida authorities went to a funeral home and used a dead man's finger to try to unlock his cellphone as part of their investigation. Thirty-year-old Linus Phillip was killed by a Largo police officer last month after authorities say he tried to drive away before an officer could search him. Source
  • New Brunswick Liberal calling for study on Canada's endangered whales

    Tech & Science CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- A New Brunswick member of Parliament is calling for a federal study to take a closer look at the state of Canada's endangered whales. Karen Ludwig, the Liberal member for New Brunswick Southwest, has tabled a private member's bill that is expected to be debated in the House of Commons on Monday. Source
  • Russia adds Google IPs to registry of banned sites

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russia's communications watchdog agency says it is adding some Google IP addresses to the state register of banned sites, as a dispute over a banned messaging app intensifies. Russia has ordered the popular Telegram messaging app to shut down because it won't share its encryption key with intelligence agencies. Source
  • 'Greening' project could end use of fossil fuel for Centennial Flame

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Will the Centennial Flame monument on Parliament Hill, with its dancing fires lit by natural gas, become the Centennial LED? The federal government has launched a study of options to cut the flow of natural gas from Western Canada to the popular monument, and replace it with a more eco-friendly energy source. Source
  • Hubble's 28 years marked by shot of wild stellar nursery

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is marking the 28th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s launch with a peek into a wild stellar nursery. Scientists released the picture Thursday in advance of next week’s milestone. Source
  • Musk's LA transport tunnel proposal gets environmental review exemption

    Tech & Science CTV News
    FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2018 file photo, Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, speaks at a news conference after the Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket launched successfully from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Source
  • After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook has taken the lion's share of scrutiny from Congress and the media for its data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it's far from alone. Source
  • Ribbonsnake DNA detective work being used to track elusive creatures

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A snake researcher is using DNA analysis to learn more about one of Nova Scotia's most elusive and threatened snakes. The eastern ribbonsnake is 70 centimetres long and in the same genus as the common garter snake. "They look very much like garter snakes to the uninitiated, but a dead giveaway is they have a crescent-shaped white scale right in front of their eye," said Steve Mockford, associate professor of biology at Acadia University and co-chair of the Ribbonsnake Recovery Team. Source
  • Prescription to slow worsening myopia in Canadian kids? Head outdoors

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Seven-year-old Jaclyn recently chose bright blue-framed glasses with red dots "because they're a splash of colour." Jaclyn was diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness, at the age of age four. "I was surprised to learn that she needed glasses," recalled her mother, Ellen Rosenberg, in Toronto. Source