More than 800 turn out for statewide whale count
More than 800 volunteers counted whales from the shores of Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island for Saturday’s annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.
They counted humpback whale sightings and studied the animals’ behavior. The sanctuary, managed by NOAA, protects humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiian waters where they migrate each winter to mate, calve, and nurse their young
Volunteers worked at 59 sites statewide. Here are the average numbers of whales sighted per 15-minute count period on each island:
• O‘ahu – 3 whales
• Kaua‘i – 2 whales
• Big Island – 6 whales
As many as 10,000 humpback whales winter in state waters. Studies show Hawaii’s humpback whale population has been increasing at an annual rate of approximately seven percent. .