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

  • Flow reduced in leaking underwater Alaska gas pipeline

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Natural gas spewing into Alaska's Cook Inlet from a ruptured underwater pipeline has been reduced by about half after owners lowered pressure in the line. The pipeline carries gas from onshore to four production platforms owned by Hilcorp Alaska LLC. Source
  • NOAA retires Otto, Matthew as tropical storm names

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Lailoni Kent, 8, of Lake Worth, screams when the pull of the wave was stronger than she thought while playing on the beach and getting photos with her family on Lantana Beach while Hurricane Matthew created big waves, Thursday, Oct. Source
  • 'Australia's own Jurassic Park': Scientists find major dinosaur footprint site

    Tech & Science CTV News
    An 'unprecedented' 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been found on a stretch of Australia's remote coastline, scientists said Monday, dubbing it the nation's Jurassic Park. Palaeontologists from the University of Queensland and James Cook University said it was the most diverse such discovery in the world, unearthed in rocks up to 140 millions years old in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Source
  • Pollution talks start after dead dolphin found in NY river

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- The death of a dolphin in a New York river that empties into Long Island sound has raised questions about water pollution. Officials say the dolphin was found in the Hutchinson River in Mount Vernon Friday afternoon. Source
  • EPA chief: Trump to undo Obama's environmental protection plan

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump in the coming days will sign a new executive order that unravels his predecessor's sweeping plan to curb global warming, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday. EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order to be signed Tuesday will undo the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. Source
  • Florida eco-friendly town opens for business

    Tech & Science CTV News
    With a farm-to-table restaurant, driverless shuttles, homes built with the latest green techniques and a massive solar farm to offset energy use, Florida's first sustainable town is now open for business. The buzz about Babcock Ranch, an eco-friendly city of the future and the largest development of its kind in the United States, drew more than 15,000 people out this month for a peek. Source
  • 11 endangered wild elephants rescued from mud in Cambodia

    Tech & Science CTV News
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Eleven endangered wild elephants were rescued in Cambodia on Saturday, four days after getting stuck in a 3-meter-deep mud hole, officials said. The animals were rescued in northeastern Mondulkiri province, home to about 250 wild elephants, said Wildlife Alliance official Bothmroath Lebun. Source
  • How lasers, environmentalists and Google combine to reduce methane emissions

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A new project has brought together university researchers, an environmental organization and Google to help find and track methane leaks in U.S. cities. Methane, a natural gas, is commonly used as an energy and heating source, but also makes up about 25 per cent of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Source
  • Another reason to flip the off switch for Earth Hour: light pollution

    Tech & Science CTV News
    For the 11th year running, cities worldwide will turn their lights off Saturday to mark Earth Hour in a global call to action on climate change. But the moment of darkness should also serve as a reminder, activists say, of another problem that gets far less attention: light pollution. Source
  • Black hole gets unusual 'kick' out of galaxy core thanks to gravitational waves

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A team of international researchers got a bit of a shock recently when a supermassive black hole — something that normally anchors the centre of a galaxy — was spotted speeding away from its home. The reason? Gravitational waves, says the research team. Source