The Story of Wylder

Wylder is a humpback whale that was identified off the coast of Maui on February 1, 2010 in the Au'au Channel.

The Au'au Channel is home to many humpback whales each winter as the whales migrate approximately 3,500 miles from their feeding grounds in Alaskan waters to their mating and birthing grounds in Hawaiian waters. The Hawaiian word "au'au" means "to take a bath" and refers to the generally calmer waters found in this channel that is protected by the islands of Maui to the east, Lanai to the west, Moloka'i to the north, and Kaho'olawe to the south. There is only nine miles between Maui and Lanai and the depth reaches about 108 feet.

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers were able to photograph the underside of Wylder's tail, or flukes. Fluke photographs are important because they allow us to identify individual whales by the coloration patterns and notches along the trailing edge of the flukes. Each humpback whale's fluke pattern is as unique as a human's fingerprint.

Wylder was named through the Name-a-Whale program at Pacific Whale Foundation by his grandparents in memory of Wylder James, age three, whose family has always felt a love for the whales and Maui.

Wylder's parents, Steven and Shannon, had their rehearsal dinner on one of Pacific Whale Foundation's vessels the night before they were married. After he was diagnosed with the metabolic disease Niemann Pick A, which impacts the digestion of lipids, his parents brought him to Maui so he could experience the islands like they did. Wylder passed away on July 20th. Wylder was put to rest out to sea between the three islands close to Kaanapali Beach where his family has always had such fun memories. So in memory of Wylder James, naming a Hawaiian humpback whale just seems... RIGHT!!!

We thank you for your adoption of Wylder and your support of all of Pacific Whale Foundation's research projects. We hope you enjoy learning more about your new whale.