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

  • EPA keeps scientists from speaking about report on climate

    Tech & Science CTV News
    PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency kept three scientists from speaking at a Monday event in a move condemned by researchers and Democratic members of Congress as an attempt by the agency to silence a discussion of climate change. Source
  • 12 big cities sign 'fossil-fuel-free streets' declaration

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Zero emissions areas could mean more parks, pedestrian areas or roads where only electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles could enter to make cities more attractive places to live. They did not define how big "major areas" would be. Source
  • Dandelions found in oilsands tailings could help clean them up: researchers

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A dandelion growing in the middle of a barren patch of oilsands tailings might unlock one way to help clean them up. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon have found the dandelion was hosting a fungus that ate the residual chemicals in the tailings. Source
  • 238 cities, regions want to house Amazon's 2nd headquarters

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Amazon said today that it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico hoping to be the home of the company’s second headquarters. The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a second home base in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs and spend more than US$5 billion on construction. Source
  • Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis goes online, website crashes

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LONDON -- Cambridge University has put Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis online, triggering such interest that it crashed the university's website. Completed in 1966 when Hawking was 24, "Properties of Expanding Universes" explores ideas about the origins of the universe that have resonated through the scientist's career. Source
  • Britain to give Canada the shipwrecks of explorer Franklin

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LONDON - Britain will give Canada the shipwrecks of British explorer John Franklin, who tried to chart the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic in 1845. The Ministry Of Defence said in a statement it would transfer the ownership of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to Parks Canada, but retain a small sample of artifacts. Source
  • N.S. vineyards flourish, for now, as temperatures grow warmer

    Tech & Science CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The skies have been brilliant blue in Nova Scotia wine country this October, the vines heavy with grapes, and winemakers like Sean Sears are seeing crops they could only vaguely hope for in the past. Source
  • 'No threat': Civil liberties groups support Chelsea Manning's bid to cross Canadian border

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A Canadian lawyer representing Chelsea Manning has formally requested the Canadian government reconsider its decision to block the American leaker of classified documents from entering the country. In support, more than 40 civil liberties groups, human rights advocates, privacy scholars, and academics have sent letters to the Canadian government highlighting Manning's advocacy for government transparency, prisoners' rights, and the LGTBQ community. Source
  • British writer launches seventh expedition to search for elusive pink-headed duck

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Hope is the thing with feathers, poet Emily Dickinson wrote. For Richard Thorns, the feathers are pink. Thorns' hope? To prove that a colorful duck is not extinct. This week, he launches a seventh expedition into the inaccessible wilds of Myanmar to search for the pink-headed duck that hasn't been seen alive since 1949, and that was in India. Source
  • New chemical cocktails found in Hudson Bay polar bears

    Tech & Science CTV News
    New tests have found a wide range of previously undiscovered contaminants in polar bears around Hudson Bay. The new study complicates our understanding of the complex cocktail of chemicals the bears are exposed to as they try to adapt to changing climate, said Environment Canada researcher Robert Letcher. Source