Humpback Whale,

by Drelan Kalakau, 4th grade

The humpback whale is one of the three mammals that are endangered in Hawaii. The humpback whale belongs to a family called rorquals, meaning "tubed whale". The humpback is a medium sized rorqual, but its length is enormous. For instance, a humpback's fluke measures up to 16 feet across, and although it is an ocean animal, the bones in its flippers are shaped to look like hands. Wartlike knobs cover the head and flippers. Unlike its name, humpback, they have no hump on their back.

There aren't many reasons why the humpback is endangered, and how it got endangered. There are plainly two main reasons why they endangered. Number one, in the 1700-1800's humans killed them for their oil and meat. And number two, it took an impact when whalers killed over 100,000 humpbacks between 1904-1939. This took on a major loss to the humpbacks' community of whales.

In warm waters the humpbacks eat a shrimp-like creature called krill. In Alaskan waters the humpback goes on a diet that consists of copecods and herring.

Baby calves are very delicate. If anything unusual happens to their habitat or to their food source, they would die instantly. A female humpback carries her baby for up to eleven to twelve months. This is a very long time compared to a human. Scientists don't know, but they think the calf is born tail first because if it were born head first, they would probably drown. Although they are still calves, they stop taking milk at six months.

The humpbacks are seen in costal waters all over the world. In the summer they feed in the polar regions. In the winter they breed in the tropical areas. A popular breeding area is in the warm tropical waters of Hawaii. Another reason why the humpback migrates is because man and whales compete for the same food resources.

The humpbacks need our help. There are less than 1,000 humpbacks in the Pacific waters today. We should protect them as best as we can.

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