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Limited Ecotour Oct. 3-13 To Help Researchers Spot False Killer Whales

PacWhale Eco-Adventures is offering a limited-time ecotour Oct. 3-13 for people to help researchers spot endangered false killer whales. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

PacWhale Eco-Adventures is offering a limited-time ecotour Oct. 3-13 for people to support researchers from the Pacific Whale Foundation, the University of Hawaiʻi’s Marine Mammal Research Program and Stanford University as they survey the waters off Lānaʻi and test new equipment.

During the approximately 6-hour excursion on the research vessel Ocean Protector, passengers will scan the ocean for endangered false killer whales and other marine mammals and report their sightings to researchers.

A Pacific Whale Foundation research assistant on board will answer questions about marine science, demonstrate photo-identification methods and explain the data collection as it unfolds.

False killer whales in Hawaiʻi are a high-priority species for the Pacific Whale Foundation and other researchers. Classified as endangered in 2012 under the Endangered Species Act, these marine mammals have been declining in number since the early 1980s. Today, slow reproduction rates and a combination of human and environmental threats, such as high levels of persistent organic pollutants, are limiting their recovery. 

With the assistance from these ecotours, Pacific Whale Foundation hopes to collect valuable data that will help inform the health of individual animals, the status of the endangered population and their use of the Maui Nui region. Individuals not aboard this special PacWhale Eco-Adventures experience can also report false killer whales to researchers year-round by contacting the False Killer Whale Hotline at 808-HELP-FKW.

As false killer whales can be elusive and hard to locate, guests will also be looking for and reporting on other studied dolphin species, such as bottlenose, spinner and spotted dolphins. In addition to the marine mammal search, this trip includes a continental breakfast, snorkel break exploring the vibrant underwater world of the Lānaʻi coast, plus lunch prepared on board.

Offered October 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13, this fun-filled educational experience is suitable for passengers seven years of age and older. With a maximum capacity of 25 people, advanced bookings are recommended. All tours depart from Lahaina Harbor at 7:15 a.m. with check-in 45 minutes prior at Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Store, located at 612 Front Street in Lahaina. For more information or to make a reservation, click here or visit https://www.pacificwhale.org/cruises/maui-snorkel/lanaʻi-marine-mammal-search-snorkel/.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/09/29/limited-ecotour-oct-3-13-to-help-researchers-spot-false-killer-whales/

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