Whales of Hawaii

To Hawaiians, the whale is a representation of the Hawaiian god, Kanaloa - the god of animals in the ocean. Humpback whales (na kohola) are found in all oceans, although they generally prefer near shore and near-island habitats for both feeding and breeding. Since adult whales rarely feed in Hawaii, many of the behaviors below are specific to mating.

A large percentage of the North Pacific humpback whales migrate to the main Hawaiian islands during the winter months - November through May - each year. The round-trip distance they travel during this annual migration is approximately 4,000 miles, one of the longest migration distances of any animal species. During their stay in Hawaii, they do not feed, but rely upon stored energy. Near the islands, the whales devote most of their time to mating and giving birth to their calves. While visiting the islands, kohola have become renowned for their various acrobatic displays.

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Humpback Migration


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