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

  • U.S. federal appeals court considers kids' climate change lawsuit

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- A U.S. federal appeals court is weighing in on an unusual lawsuit by a group of young people who say the Trump administration is violating their constitutional rights by failing to address climate change. Source
  • Full moon linked to increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes: research

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A distracting full moon may increase the risk of fatal motorcycle crashes, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal. And Canadians could be more susceptible to the distraction of a large moon, say researchers Dr. Source
  • Motorcycle-related deaths more common during full moon, study finds

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Motorcyclists should take extra care the next time they're out for a drive at night during a full moon. A new study in the Christmas issue of the BMJ suggests that a full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes. Source
  • Trump wants to send man back to moon, on to Mars

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump wants to send man back to the moon -- and on to Mars. Trump signed a policy directive Monday instructing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery. Source
  • Researchers predict 'vaccine scares' using Google and Twitter trends

    Tech & Science CBC News
    What do Google searches and tweets tell us about disease outbreaks? As it turns out, analyzing search and tweet trends could give warning signs for when a disease outbreak may happen due to reduced vaccinations. An international team of researchers analyzed searches and tweets related to measles and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine using artificial intelligence and a mathematical model, and detected warning signs of a "tipping point" two years before the Disneyland outbreak happened. Source
  • SpaceX launching recycled rocket, supply capsule for NASA

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space Age hand-me-downs are soaring to a whole new level. On Tuesday, SpaceX plans to launch its first rocket for NASA. The unmanned Falcon 9 -- last used in June -- will carry up a Dragon capsule that's also flown on a previous space station supply run. Source
  • Nova Scotia rocket launch site hopes to eventually reach 12 launches per year

    Tech & Science CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The developers of Canada's only commercial spaceport are shooting for as many as a dozen rockets to blast off per year from a proposed site near a small community on Nova Scotia's eastern shore. Source
  • How Canadians are constructing North America's biggest green buildings

    Tech & Science CBC News
    In January, tenants will move into a six-storey Vancouver apartment building designed to be so energy efficient, you can heat each bedroom with a 100-watt light bulb. Boasting a total of 85 studio, one- and two-bedroom units, The Heights at 388 Skeena St. Source
  • Bitcoin's move to mainstream carries new financial risks

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Investing often descends into a kind of immoderate zeal, but there are signs the digital currency craze has the potential to threaten the wider global economy if left unchecked. Just as we've seen with the current passion for bitcoin, part of that single-minded enthusiasm includes the fierce rejection of criticism. Source
  • LA subway construction unearths more fossils

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- As part of the crew digging a subway extension under the streets of Los Angeles, Ashley Leger always keeps her safety gear close by. When her phone buzzes, she quickly dons a neon vest, hard hat and goggles before climbing deep down into a massive construction site beneath a boulevard east of downtown. Source