Humpback whales of the Central North Pacific stock congregate each winter in the waters that surround the Hawaiian Islands. These warm, calm, protected waters offer the perfect conditions for a humpback whale calf nursery. Pregnant females journey over 3000 miles to reach this nursery and by March each year calves comprise over 10% of the population in the region. The Keiki Kohola Project was founded in 1997 by a group of concerned naturalists and boat captains in Lahaina, Hawaii. Our aim was to provide information on humpback whale calf behavior and development that will ensure effective managementof these nursery waters. In 2008, as we start a new phase in our project, we plan to extend our study to incorporate the Alaskan feeding grounds used by humpback whale mother and calf pairs, and look at the continuing development of calves throughout their first year of life. We plan to focus our studies on the development of diving capacity in young humpback whale calves and look to see how this shapes their early feeding behavior in the channels and bays of South East Alaska.
To meet our research team, and to hear more about our project, as featured on the island magazine "Making Over Maui", click the link below: