Approximately 900 volunteers gathered data from the shores of Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii Island during Saturday’s second of three sessions of the annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count. The count is an annual shore-based census that provides snapshot data about humpback whales. Participants tally humpback sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior.
Volunteers collected data from 58 sites statewide. A total of 297 whales were seen during the 9:30-9:45 a.m. time period, the most of any time period throughout Saturday’s count. The calm water conditions were great for spotting whales and other marine wildlife, although conditions were hazy in many areas.
Preliminary data detailing whale sightings by site location is available at www.sanctuaryoceancount.org/resources.
One more Sanctuary Ocean Count is scheduled to take place Saturday, March 29. For more information about becoming a Sanctuary Ocean Count volunteer, visit http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov or http://sanctuaryoceancount.org, or call (808) 268-3087.
The sanctuary, which is administered by a partnership of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the State of Hawaii through the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), protects humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiian waters where they migrate each winter to mate, calve and nurse their young.
Find more information on the Web at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary site, http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov; the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries site, http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov; and the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources site, http://hawaii.gov/dlnr.