PBS’ Changing Seas featuring humpback whales and their marine sanctuary in Hawaiʻi

Humpback whale calf in waters off Maui. NOAA permit 22750. Photo Courtesy: PBS South Florida

Two programs on PBS South Florida’s “Changing Seas” will feature humpback whales and the Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Both programs, “Vanishing Whales” and “Humpback Health,” will premiere June 22 and are available online at or on the “Changing Seas TV” YouTube channel, where they will be available for streaming anytime.

“Vanishing Whales” takes a closer look at the humpback population that migrates between Hawai‘i and Alaska. Its decades-long recovery from commercial whaling is considered a conservation success story.

But when sightings of animals suddenly dropped, people became concerned. Now, scientists in both locations are trying to understand what happened to the whales.

“Humpback Health” delves deeper into the many mysteries that remain about these ocean leviathans.

Every winter, thousands of humpback whales travel to the warm, shallow waters of Hawai‘i to mate, give birth and raise their young. When the whales are in their Hawaiian breeding grounds, they fast for an extended period while expending energy on mating and giving birth. Now, for the first time, a team of scientists is making remarkable discoveries about how the whales’ body size and overall health change across the animals’ migratory cycle.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary protects these whales and their habitat.

Other episodes of Changing Seas this season include “Kelp: Hidden Treasure of the Salish Sea”, taking audiences on an exciting journey to the Pacific Northwest; and “Saving Florida’s Starving Manatees”, examining why Florida’s iconic sea cows are dying in record numbers.

For the past 14 years, Changing Seas has taken viewers on exciting adventures to the heart of our blue planet. The series goes to sea with scientists, giving audiences a first-hand look at how oceanographers and other experts study earth’s last frontier. Produced by South Florida PBS, Changing Seas has aired on 95% of public television stations in the United States and in more than 39 countries across the globe. 

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