Posted on: January 31, 2011

FREE Talk by Greg Kaufman: HUMPBACK WHALES: NOTES FROM THE FIELD & AFAR

Greg Kaufman, Pacific Whale Foundation Founder, to Host Free Video Presentation and Talk About Whales of Southern Hemisphere

The public is invited to a free evening event at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa to meet Greg Kaufman, Pacific Whale Foundation Founder and President. Kaufman will present a thrilling visual media presentation about his extraordinary 2010 journey with Pacific Whale Foundation’s research team along Australia's eastern coast in search of new knowledge about humpback whales, and discuss his fight to save humpback whales through his scientific role at the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The event will take place on Saturday, February 5 at the Wailea Beach Marriott’s South Pacific Ballroom, with no-host cocktails at 6:00 p.m., followed by the free presentation at 6:30 p.m. A book signing of Kaufman's 2009 book, Humpbacks of Hawaii, the Long Journey Back, will occur immediately after the presentation. This event is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited, so advance reservations are highly recommended.

"The 2010 field research season was unprecedented in scope and success," said Kaufman. “My presentation will highlight the critical importance of our research in ongoing efforts to protect and preserve the Southern Pacific Ocean humpback whale populations. It will also give whale enthusiasts a unique opportunity to experience the journey and adventures of an amazing field research season firsthand through video and digital images of whales and Australia's incredible natural resources.”

Greg Kaufman has studied humpback whales throughout the Pacific for more than 31 years. He is the Founder and President of the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui's oldest and largest organization dedicated to protecting whales and their habitats, and the author of four books about whales.

Kaufman also serves as an Invited Participant to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee, and will give a first-hand report of the politics of saving whales from his experiences in Agadir, Morocco.  In November, Kaufman was invited by the United States Department of Interior to represent the United States at a worldwide summit in Patagonia, Argentina to draft a five year strategic plan for the development and capacity building for whalewatching worldwide. 

“By sharing our research findings on humpback whales with the IWC we are better able to ensure their long-term protection,” said Kaufman. “It is our hope that we can replace whale killing with the more economically sound model of whale watching instead.”

Kaufman will also present video and digital images of the endangered right whales of Patagonia, along with a travel log of the areas flora and fauna. In the past five years over 300 juvenile right whales have washed up dead on the shores of Patagonia, representing one of the largest great whale die-offs ever recorded.

“These deaths are occurring in the whale’s primary breeding ground which is alarming and raises concerns as to what could happen with humpbacks in Hawaii’s breeding ground,” said Kaufman.  “Biotoxins, disease, environmental factors on their nursing grounds, and variations in prey availability in their feeding grounds are all suspected culprits, but the cause remains a mystery.”

Kaufman spent nearly four months in Australia in late summer and fall with a team of Pacific Whale Foundation researchers. From August through October 2010, the research team covered 6,000 miles of road and 3,000 miles of open-ocean along the east coast of Australia. Here they were hoping to locate previously unidentified areas where humpback whales are mating, giving birth and caring for their young. Pacific Whale Foundation is a contributing member to the Southern Ocean Research Partnership, a multi-lateral, non-lethal scientific research program aimed to improve the coordinated and cooperative delivery of science to the International Whaling Commission.

For information or to make a reservation, call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 or visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org. This event is part of Pacific Whale Foundation's 2011 Maui Whale Festival.