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136 whales sighted over 15 minutes in 3rd coordinated count of 2022

PC: Great Whale Count (file) /Pacific Whale Foundation

A total of 136 whale sightings were recorded during the 15 minute period between 10 and 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, during the third coordinated count this year between the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

The HIHWNMS’s Ocean Count collected data from 32 sites off of O’ahu, Kaua’i, and Hawai’i Island; while the PWF count collected data from 12 sites around Maui at 15 minute intervals between 8:30 a.m. and 11:50 a.m.

  • On Maui, volunteers observed a total of 56 whales during the 9:30 to 9:45 a.m. time period, the most of any time period throughout the day’s count.
  • On the islands of Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, volunteers counted a total of 93 whale sightings during the 10:00 to 10:15 am time period, the most of any time period throughout the day’s count. 

This is the first count since the start of COVID-19 to welcome back a small number of volunteers at designated sites to participate in the count.

This is the fourth year that both counts are coordinated on the same days, ensuring the data from all the main Hawaiian Islands are collected simultaneously.

Ocean Count promotes public awareness about humpback whales, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities. Site leaders tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior during the survey, which provides a snapshot of humpback whales activity from the shorelines of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i islands. Ocean Count is supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The Great Whale Count by Pacific Whale Foundation had site leaders count whales from shore as part of a long-term survey of humpback whales in Hawai’i. This event provides a snapshot of trends in relative abundance of whales and is one of the world’s longest-running cetacean based community science projects.

Both counts will take place three times during peak whale season annually on the last Saturdays in January, February, and March.

Preliminary data detailing Sanctuary Ocean Count whale sightings by site location are available at: https://oceancount.org/resources/. Additional information is available on the sanctuary’s website at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s Great Whale Count data may be found at https://www.pacificwhale.org/research/community-science/ with additional information at www.mauiwhalefestival.org

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/03/26/136-whales-sighted-over-15-minutes-in-3rd-coordinated-count-of-2022/

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