While we are progressing daily as a species, with the unstoppable advent of technology, it’s sad that the same cannot be said about other animals. And it’s even weirder when all we get about a species possible distress is a shrug of confusion. This is what is going on, with scientists unsure of what caused Hawaii’s missing whales.
Whales visiting Hawaii for the winter
Usually, come December, a large population of up to 10,000 humpback whales starts showing up in Hawaii.
The animals are iconic to the winter scenery of the island state, with people coming in from all over the country to observe the huge mammals.
With tour operators preparing their businesses for whale watching, it’s become slightly strange that a very small number of whales have showed up so far.
Only about a handful of whales were spotted up until now, which is very weird seeing as the numbers should have been in the low thousands by now.
Usually, over 10,000 animals make their way to the warmer waters of Hawaii from Alaska, in order to find a mate and to give birth.
The animals generally travel by pods of 3 or 4 individuals, and even those weren’t anywhere to be seen.
Generally, the lines are packed with people wanting to observe the whales frolic in the water, throwing up white, foamy water, and uttering their majestic noises.
According to Ed Lyman, response coordinator for the whale sanctuary, the whales’ absence isn’t necessarily concerning, as much as it is interesting.
What could be the actual reason?
Currently, scientists are unsure of what caused Hawaii’s missing whales, but they do have a few theories. Lack of evidence and quantifiable leads, however, makes it impossible to come up with a definite answer.
The most plausible theory would be that the animals are still spending their time feeding in Alaska, due to the warm weather brought forth by El Nino and climate change.
Another explanation would be that the humpback whale population has gone up a bit, getting the animals to about 10% of their original numbers; they are still a protected species, with boats not being allowed to approach an individual more than 100 feet.
In the meanwhile, a different study performed by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund in 2007 predicted this trend, claiming that because of climate change, whale populations will soon shift their distributions in order to remain in their optimal habitat.
Image source: Pixabay