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Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary

Hanalei Bay is part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i. The sanctuary, which lies within the shallow (less than 600 feet), warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands, constitutes one of the world's most important humpback whale habitats.

Through education, outreach, research and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i.


Exploring the Sanctuary

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is the perfect place for whale watching, whether from land or sea.


Humpback whales can be seen in Hawai‘i’s nearshore waters during winter and their impressive acrobatic displays are often visible from miles away.



Humpback Whale Facts:

Group: Mammalia

Order: Cetacea

Sub-order: Mysticeti

Family: Balaenopteridae

Genus: Megaptera

Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae "Great wings of New England"

Type of whale: Baleen whale

Hawaiian name: kohola

Weight: 45-50 tons

Size: 45 feet

Life span: Estimated to be 40 to 50 years

Age at sexual maturity: 5 to 9 years

Gestation: 10 to 12 months


Get Involved

The greatest benefit of volunteering with the sanctuary is the satisfaction of knowing you are an integral part of the effort to protect an endangered animal - the humpback whale, as well as assisting in the protection of other protected species found in sanctuary waters. In addition, as an active sanctuary volunteer you will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing training and learning opportunities conducted by staff and other experts.


Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary


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