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Experts to discuss whale research

By Staff | Feb 10, 2011

Hear the latest news on humpback whales at “An Evening with the Experts.”

KAANAPALI — Noted whale experts Bryant Austin, Ari Friedlaender, Greg Kaufman and Corey Ryder will speak and present videos and photos relating to the latest discoveries and developments in humankind’s quest to understand and save whales during a free event on Friday, Feb. 12.

Open to the public, “An Evening with the Experts” is set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. at The Westin Maui Resort and Spa.

Austin creates high-resolution, life-size photographs of endangered whale species. His current body of work represents the largest, most detailed photographs of whales in the world.

Devoting up to three months at a time with specific whale populations, Austin seeks out inquisitive and accepting individual whales.

Friedlaender is a research scientist at Marine Science and Conservation at Duke University. Friedlaender’s experience lies in marine mammals’ foraging ecology, tagging and the effects of climate change.

Kaufman has 31 years of experience studying humpbacks throughout the Pacific. He began traveling the United States and Europe to educate the public about endangered whales in the 1970s.

The president and founder of Pacific Whale Foundation, Kaufman has pioneered responsible whale and dolphin-watching programs and conducted vital humpback whale research throughout the Pacific.

Ryder, a producer/director/writer in film, TV and music, serves as the president of Earth Foundation.

Ryder was on the team that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2009 for “The Cove,” which shed light on the slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

The panel is part of the Maui Whale Festival, a month-long series of events in honor of the humpback whales that come here each winter to mate, give birth and care for their young.

Other Maui Whale Festival events include The Great Maui Whale Count on Feb. 26 and Whale Day, an all-day celebration at Kihei’s Kalama Park on Feb. 19 that includes live music throughout the day by popular Hawaii musicians, food by Maui restaurants, a huge craft fair with local artisans, a children’s carnival, eco-displays and a parade.

For information, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org or call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811, extension 1.