Friday, January 26, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 26, 2001

Public invited to count whales in February

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

Hawaii’s humpback whale population seems to be on the rise, and scientists hope an annual count Feb. 24 will confirm it.

One of the ways in which biologists estimate the population of humpback whales each year is with the annual Ocean Count.

In Hawaii, two organizations hold the count: The Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary on Oahu, Hawaii and Kauai.

Both organizations are looking for volunteers, who will receive training before being placed at designated spots around the islands to watch whales. The Pacific Whale Foundation count runs from 8 a.m to noon and the Sanctuary Ocean Count from 9 a.m. to noon, both on Feb. 24.

"It’s a great way for the community to get directly involved in research and science," said Kellie Cheung, of the Oahu National Marine Sanctuary office.

While it may not qualify as rigorous scientific survey, the counts provide a quick look at the statewide population of humpbacks cruising Hawaiian waters during the peak of the season.

Anyone interested in volunteering can call for information:

Hawaii: Call (808) 974-4000, ext 70106, or send e-mail to

Maui: Call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 879-8860 and ask for Lizbeth Kendall or Heidi Nieuhoff.

Oahu: Call (808) 397-2656 or e-mail

Kauai: Call (808) 335-0941 or e-mail

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