Cook Island News, 13th August 2018

“This season is incredibly strange, and we don’t know exactly why,” said Hauser. “It’s started out slow this year – we’ve only really actually seen 20 whales.

“Last year we had the best season we’ve ever had here in 25 years. We had almost 500 sightings – it was unreal.”

While Hauser doesn’t know for sure what the cause is, she has a theory as to why it has taken the whales longer to show up this year – she thinks it could be related to climate change.

Humpback whales migrate to Cook Islands and South Pacific waters from Antarctica, where they typically load up on krill and herring before making the long trek northward to mate, rest and give birth to their calves.

“These humpbacks, they fast for six to eight months – they don’t eat anything,” Hauser explains.

“They gorge themselves in Antarctica – I mean gorge themselves, totally. They just eat and eat and eat and eat.

“Then they migrate up and across Oceania and back down again, with no food.”

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