Hawaiians wonder, where are the whales? A humpback whale leaps out of the water in the channel off the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon/J. Scott Applewhite, file)
Hawaiians wonder, where are the whales?
Lexile

December usually marks the start of humpback whale season in Hawaii. But experts say the animals have been slow to return.
 
The giant whales are an iconic part of winter on the islands and a source of income for tour operators. But officials at the Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary said they've been getting reports that the whales have been difficult to spot so far.
 
"This isn't a concern. But it's of interest. One theory was that something like this happened as whales increased. It's a product of their success," said Ed Lyman, a Maui-based resource protection manager and response coordinator for the sanctuary.
 
"What I'm seeing out there right now I would have expected a month ago," said Lyman, who was surprised by how few of the animals he saw while responding to a call about a distressed calf on Christmas Eve. "We've just seen a handful of whales."
 
It will be a while before officials have hard numbers because the annual whale counts don't take place until the last Saturday of January, February and March.  This is according to former sanctuary co-manager Jeff Walters.
 
"They don't necessarily show up in the same place at the same time every year," Walters said.
 
More than 10,000 humpback whales make the winter journey from Alaska to the warm waters off Hawaii to mate and give birth.
 
Lyman said the whales' absence could just mean they're spending more time feeding in northern waters. That's possibly because of El Nino disruptions or because their population has gone up.
 
"With more animals, they're competing against each other for that food resource, and it takes an energy of reserve to make that long migration over 2,000 miles," he explained.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What is the impact of late-arriving whales?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (83)
  • karliw-1-bar
    1/07/2016 - 04:27 p.m.

    Tourists in Hawaii have had one question across their mind recently: "Where are the whales?" During the not-so-cold winters in the Hawaiian Islands, humpback whales are expected around December and Christmas Time. But, for the last month, the ever anticipated whales have been MIA (missing in action), and tourists have been left empty handed with not more than a penny in their pocket.

  • calvinh-4-bar
    1/07/2016 - 06:24 p.m.

    The impact that the late-arriving whales are having is that the whales are a "source of income for tour operators" and without the whales coming in during the holiday break a lot of money could be lost. If the whales came during the holiday break it would have meant more money for the tour operators.
    I think that the tour operators will be able to still make a reasonable income despite the whales arriving late. If the whales didn't come till even later it could result in more money during the breaks in March.

  • audreyv-4-bar
    1/07/2016 - 06:58 p.m.

    The impact of late-arriving whales is less tourist visiting Hawaii to spot whales. This is because giant whales are"an iconic part of winter on the islands and a source of income for the operators".

    This article was interesting, because it shows how our environment can change and stay changed if we don't make a difference in our actions.

  • aidanp-1-bar
    1/07/2016 - 07:54 p.m.

    It makes less income for the hawaii companies but whale populations are growing after humans killing them a hundred years ago.

  • brianag-6-bar
    1/07/2016 - 08:56 p.m.

    The impact of late-arriving whales is that is one of the main reasons that some tourists go to Hawaii and the money that tourists pay to see the whales is a main drive of income. "The giant whales are an iconic part of winter on the islands and a source of income for tour operators." I chose this article because I love sea creatures and I wanted to learn a little something about whales.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    1/07/2016 - 09:30 p.m.

    I think this is weird because at this time every year, humpback whales are supposed to be in Hawaii. Their absence may be a good thing because they are most likely staying there longer. Or, they may be starting to migrate right now. I agree with what Jeff Walters in the 6th paragraph because they do not have to show up every year at the same time. They could arrive later.
    What is the impact of late-arriving whales?
    Answer: The impact of late-arriving whales is that the income of humpback whale watching will be short.

  • heatherm-4-bar
    1/07/2016 - 10:02 p.m.

    Local hawaiins are growing concered that the whale have not been out yet. Usually by christmas they are seeing the humpback whales, but what is apeering now, should have been seen months ago... Typaclly you see hundreds to thousands of whales but in Hawaii today they are only seeing such a handful. I chose this article because i have personally gone whale watching before, and greatly enjoyed it.

  • oscarb-1-bar
    1/07/2016 - 10:27 p.m.

    The impact of late-arriving whales is that the tourists businesses need whales to run their tours and make money, and because "Hawaii's main income is tourism.", it effects the economy of the island. I thought it was interesting that the whales haven't been coming because over Christmas I went whale watching in Hawaii and their was a lot of them. I also thought it was funny that I went whale watching on Christmas Eve, the same as the resource protection manager.

  • batiar-3-bar
    1/08/2016 - 09:22 a.m.

    The impact for late-arriving whales is how they are known to be migrating in Hawaii during this time,"The giant whales are an iconic part of winter on the islands and a source of income for tour operators. According to Lyman,"whales' absence could just mean they're spending more time feeding in northern waters. That's possibly because of El Nino disruptions or because their population has gone up." With a higher population there is more fight for food making it harder to migrate because the whale can't lack any resources. Hopefully the 10,000 whales migrating from Alaska will eventually make there way over to Hawaii to mate and give birth. The migration is over 2,000, so if there were to be a bigger population it would be harder to make the long trip to Hawaii. This article was very interesting because it taught me things I didn't know. For example, whales migrate to Hawaii in winter from Alaska to mate and give birth. I hope that the whales will eventually come and the reason for there late arrival is a bigger population.

  • ellaf-
    1/08/2016 - 09:39 a.m.

    because the tourists wont come through an spend money

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