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Whale ID #NP0194
Congratulations! You have officially adopted the North Pacific humpback whale named Lopaka.
Lopaka was lovingly named in memory of Baby Bobby who passed away at five months from a rare form of juvenile leukemia cancer. Baby Bobby’s Hawaiian name was Lopaka. We thank Baby Bobby’s grandparents, Gary and Debbie Fletcher, for naming Lopaka and know that they, along with Baby Bobby’s parents, Dough and Shelley, will forever remember Baby Bobby and imagine him frolicking in the oceans with Lopaka.
Humpback whales are the fifth largest whales in the world. On average, males reach about 43 feet in length; females are slightly larger and can grow to an average of 45 feet.
While their size is truly astounding, there are many other reasons why people are fascinated by humpback whales. These giant marine mammals are known for their long-distance migrations, which involve swimming thousands of miles.
Based on data collected on thousands of other humpback whales like Lopaka, we believe that Lopaka spends summer in much cooler waters, most likely in the area that extends from Northern California to the coast of Alaska, by the Bering Sea. This means Lopaka traveled a tremendous distance – an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 miles -- to migrate there from Hawaii. We do not know how long such a journey would take for Lopaka, but scientists believe that on average, the trip takes between 30 to 60 days.
Humpback whales make this migration annually from their cooler feeding grounds that are rich with food to their warmer mating and breeding grounds, which may offer protection from predators.
Lopaka was sighted by Pacific Whale Foundation's team in Hawai'i in Ma’alaea Bay on March 25, 2013 in a competition pod of six adults. It is still undetermined whether Lopaka is a male or female. It is quite difficult to ascertain the sex of humpback whales from visual observations unless you get a good luck on their ventral (belly) side and observe the hemispherical lobe present on females, see the mother-calf pair, or observe other behaviors that serve as clues.
Through your adoption of Lopaka, you are supporting the ongoing research programs and projects at Pacific Whale Foundation. Our research team spends many lengthy hours going through fluke photos in order to identify new humpback whales and to confirm a resighting of known humpback whales. We look forward to updating you with future sightings of Lopaka.