The annual Great Whale Count will start this Saturday, January 26th. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in what is known as one of the longest running citizen scientist projects.
There are 12 survey sites located along the Maui shoreline. Site leaders will give brief instruction to volunteers and record data throughout the day. Data collected includes the number of whales and behavior patterns. After all the data is collected throughout the day, numbers are tallied and released immediately following the count.
Other count dates include Saturday, February 23rd and Saturday, March 30th. Those wishing to become volunteers must create an account through the Pacific Whale Foundation here.
Since 1991 the Great Whale Count happens annually at the end of February using citizen scientists. The whale count is used as a tool to monitor changes in the whale population from year to year.
This years whale count was held Saturday February 28. The count for 2015 was 1,488 whales. This is up from last years total of 1,331 whales. Of the totals, 7% were calves down 2% from last years total of 9%. Many thanks to those citizen scientists who were out in windy and sometimes rainy weather.
Registration for next years count starts in January 2016 with the event happening on February 27, 2016. For more information, please visit the Maui Whale Festival.