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Humpback whales were recently taken off of the endangered species list. The species was removed from the protections of ESA in 2016, but the gentle giants are still being monitored on a regular basis.
One of the big monitoring events occurs in Hawaii every year around this time. The humpback whales are migrating to give birth in the area, so it is the perfect opportunity to perform a population estimate survey.
In normal years, the count is performed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team based in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Unfortunately, due to the government shutdown these employees are unable to perform this crucial count.
So, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is stepping in to perform the count. Although it is not their duty, the team is gearing up to perform the whale population count with volunteers in the area.
Kris Sarri, the president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, had this to say about the situation, “fewer humpback whales are being observed in the main Hawaiian Islands in recent ears and we don’t know why. Unfortunately, critical sanctuary research is on hold indefinitely due to the government shutdown.”
At least the count is still being performed by these dedicated individuals in the face of the government shutdown.
Read more from the source.