East Hawaii News

VIDEO: NOAA Scientists Observe Rare Humpback Behavior

March 9, 2016, 3:35 PM HST
* Updated March 9, 3:52 PM
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A rare video of a humpback whale and its calf showing some out of the ordinary behavior was released by the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

In the video, taken during field observations in February, the whales are seen swimming and diving, and at one point, the mother appears to be doing a headstand and drifting her tail out of the water.

Scientists say the mother’s activity, known as “tail-sailing,” is common among other southern right whales but not the most popular activity observed or documented in humpbacks..

“We’re not entirely sure why the whales do this,” said Ed Lyman, resource protection specialist for HIHWNMS. “But we think this could be another way for them to rest, nurse, or just try to stay cool. More observations will be needed to confirm this theory.”

The whale footage was capture off the leeward coast of Maui, however, Big Island Now has received numerous reports of humpback whales being spotted off the coast of West Hawai’i, as well as off the coast of Puna in areas like Hawaiian Paradise Park.

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Whale season in Hawai’i peaks in mid-February.

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