Ultimate Whale Watch and Snorkel was honored to financially support this month’s research project focused on learning more about the endangered False Killer Whales aka Pseudorca.
With less than 150 of these animals left in Hawaii, learning how to better protect them is a research priority.
Lead researcher, Robin Baird, Ph.D, Research Biologist, Cascadia Research Collective and Affiliate Faculty, Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology determined their goal for this project was to learn more about false killer whales through tagging, photography documentation, and biopsy samples.
Their 3 week project based out of Manele Bay, Lanai was very successful, and included tagging more than 20 individual false killer whales, observing them in their rare social groups (called a Cluster), taking photographs and retrieving biopsy samples from the ocean.
By tagging these marine mammals, they can use the GPS information to learn more about their habits, population and how to better protect them. The biopsy samples will tell researchers more about the animal’s genetic makeup, hormones and toxicology.
During this project, the research team also worked to document additional species of odontocetes including 6 different groups of pilot whales, one encounter with pygmy killer whales and many varied species of dolphins.
Daniel Webster, Kim Wood, Elle Walters, Colin Cornforth and Robin Baird, all from Cascadia, and a number of volunteers were a part of this whale research project which was grant supported by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and a NOAA Species Recovery Grant to the State of Hawai‘i.
To support projects like this, or for more details and photos check out CascadiaResearch.org.