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Creature feature: Humpback whales can travel thousands of miles each year from the Arctic to Hawaii and back

An overhead view of one adult and one baby humpback whale swimming. One is breaching.
Humpback whales.


According to Whale and Conservation USA, one of the longest migrations on Earth belongs to the humpback whales.

Humpback whales can travel up to 7,000 miles annually, swimming between the Arctic waters where they feed and sites near the Equator where they breed. One of these breeding sites is the Hawaiian Islands.

When humpback whales come to Oahu in the winter and spring, they are looking to find mates and reproduce. Many whales are born in Hawaiian waters.

According to the Maui Ocean Center, the humpback whale population that breeds in Hawaii every year consists of roughly 10,000 individual whales.

According to Animal Corner’s website, an adult humpback whale can reach sizes between 39 to 52 feet long, and weigh up to 33 tons. The largest whale ever recorded was an 89-foot-long, almost 90-ton female killed and recorded by whalers in the Caribbean.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation website says Humpback whales are mammals, meaning that they have hair and nurse their young with females producing milk. Like other whales, their distant ancestors once lived on land, 50 million years ago.