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Learn the latest findings on marine mammals around the world at Whale Tales

By Staff | Feb 8, 2018

WEST MAUI – Whale Trust invites the public to join world-renowned scientists, photographers and conservationists at the 12th annual Whale Tales on Feb. 16-19 in West Maui.

Whale Tales 2018 will feature four days of expert presentations, guided whale watches, films, an education/art expo and Whale Tales Family Day.

More than 16,000 people have attended the event since its debut in 2006 and contributed over $575,000 for whale research in Hawaii.

Learn the latest findings on marine mammals around the world, including right whales, killer whales, humpback whales and bowhead whales.

Hear from the experts about the effects of human activities on marine mammals and view stunning underwater photography and videography of whales in their natural environment.

Join presenters on the water with the whales during benefit whale watching cruises hosted throughout the weekend and sponsored by local whale watch businesses.

National Geographic Contributing Photographer and Whale Trust Co-founder Flip Nicklin explained, “In a time of so many uncertainties regarding the future of our oceans, Whale Tales is an opportunity to hear directly from the top scientists closest to the study of whales and the marine environment.”

The event will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua and Monday afternoon at The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. Presentations are open to the public. A $20 per day donation is encouraged to support whale research in Hawaii.

The Education and Art Expo runs throughout the weekend, featuring hands-on learning opportunities with local nonprofit organizations, marine photography and art displays, and showcases from local businesses.

Benefit whale watches with the experts are hosted daily throughout the weekend. For detailed information and tickets, visit whaletales.org.

On Friday, Feb. 16, the Education & Art Expo will be held at The Ritz-Carlton from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., and presentations are set for 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Events on Saturday, Feb. 17, include benefit whale watches from 7 to 11:30 a.m., Education & Art Expo at The Ritz-Carlton from noon to 5 p.m., a Brown Bag Lunch with Dr. Jim Darling from noon to 12:30 p.m. and presentations at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua from 1 to 5 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, after benefit whale watches from 7 to 11:30 a.m., The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will host the Education & Art Expo from noon to 5 p.m. and presentations from 1 to 5 p.m.

The lineup for Monday, Feb. 19, includes benefit whale watches from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Family Day Whale Watch from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; hands-on science, art and technology activities with special guests and local marine conservation organizations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and film screenings of “Big Pacific” as featured on PBS, MacGillivray Freeman’s “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” and a behind-the-scenes footage preview of “Disneynature’s Dolphins” at The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.

To support the beneficiaries of Whale Tales, consider a $20 suggested donation per day to attend.

Event highlights include:

North Atlantic right whale numbers have declined to less than 450 animals. With only approximately 100 females left in this population and at least 17 deaths in 2017, scientists are worried about their future. Dr. Scott Krauss and Dr. Rosalind Rolland will discuss the health of right whales, what whales are revealing about ocean health, and current efforts to reduce mortalities. “While we do not yet have a collective view of how animals like right whales will survive in an industrialized ocean, scientists must work with all stakeholders to help them make human activities less detrimental,” said Krauss.

Once feared and persecuted, over recent decades orcas have become a much-admired icon of the wild marine environment. Dr. John Ford will describe how killer whales are studied in the wild and highlight some of the surprising findings about the behavior and ecology of this top marine predator that have come to light thanks to more than 45 years of studies. “As the top marine predators, killer whales, or orcas, are sentinels of ocean health. Orca survival depends on clean, productive marine ecosystems, and it is up to us to keep them that way,” said Ford.

National Geographic Magazine Senior Editor Kathy Moran will explore the evolution of natural history storytelling at National Geographic and the magazine’s shift away from pure wildlife photography to articles that explore the intersection between humans and wildlife.

The new Disneynature movie, “Dolphins,” features epic footage of humpback whales and other marine life in the waters around Maui. Whale Tales audiences will be treated to a sneak peek with Dr. Joseph Mobley (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Jill Mickelsen (Hawaii Whale Research Foundation) presenting behind-the scenes footage and clips from the filming of the new movie that will be released in April 2018 (Earth Day).

The Family Day Whale Watch aboard the Maui Princess on Monday, Feb. 19, will feature education stations for families inside the boat.

Stand Up for Whales, a guided stand-up paddle tour on Wednesday, Feb. 21, will be hosted by Jodelle Fitzwater and Miranda Camp and sponsored by Raw Elements.

Whale Tales is hosted annually by Whale Trust, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to whale research and education, and is made possible through the generous support of many individuals and organizations.

This year’s presenting sponsors are Makana Aloha Foundation, MacGillivray Freeman Films/One World One Ocean, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, George and Marie Weis, and Mary Forbes and Gary Terrell in honor of Gary’s parents, Jeanette and Elmer Terrell.

Whale Tales 2018 sponsorship packages include VIP passes, premium seating, private reception tickets, and a complimentary whale watch with Flip Nicklin ($500 and above). Other whale watches can be purchased in advance at www.whaletales.org or by calling (808) 572-5700.

For more information, detailed schedule of events, tickets and registration, visit www.whaletales.org.