Hoihoi the false killer whale
The Story of Hoihoi
Hoihoi is a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) first sighted by Pacific Whale Foundation on January 9, 2000 with a pod of 30 individuals in the Au'au Channel. The research team sighted Hoihoi again on August 28, 2012 with 20 other whales near Lana'i. The pod was foraging on mahi mahi. Mahi mahi is also known as dolphinfish or dorado. Both sightings of Hoihoi occurred while Pacific Whale Foundation was carrying out their research study on false killer whales.
There are two populations of false killer whales in Hawaiian waters: an offshore population and an insular (island-associated) population.  Both populations have experienced a decline due to multiple threats including fisheries interactions, ingestion of marine debris, and exposure to anthropogenic noise pollution. Due in large part to these threats, the insular population has recently been listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The social ecology and behavior of false killer whales is poorly understood. The research team at Pacific Whale Foundation research project on the social structure of False Killer Whales is focused on using photo-identification to increase our knowledge allowing us to better manage and protect this species.
Using line transect surveys, researchers search for pods of false killer whales. Once a pod has been sighted, the researchers leave the transect line to gather detailed behavioral observations of the pod for a length of time up to 60 minutes. During this time they also take identification photos of the dorsal fins and sides of the animals.
These photos allow us to build a photo-identification catalog for false killer whales to estimate the number of individuals and examine how those animals move at large and small scales within their habitat. Our photo-identification catalog currently contains over 80 individuals dating back to 1996. The catalog is also used to maintain a history of sightings for all of our false killer whales available for adoption.
The research department will continue this study through 2018 and continue to build upon the existing photo-identification catalog. Your adoption of Hoihoi helps fund this important research study and we thank you for your support.
Hoihoi's sighting map