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Humpback Whale Placenta Found

The Pacific Whale Foundation’s reports that their raft the Ocean Journey, on its first whale watch of the day, came across the rarest of finds, a placenta in the water, presumed to be from a humpback whale.

A presumed humpback whale placenta. Photo courtesy of the Pacific Whale Foundation.

Further details of the time, location and circumstances surrounding the discovery are still being determined.

It is generally accepted that humpback whales migrate to Hawai‘i’s waters to breed and calve their young, however an actual birth has not yet been documented. A humpback whale placenta would perhaps be the next best evidence of the birthing process taking place.

Scientists infer that the placenta is easily dislodged after the calf is born, and then simply floats away.

Cross Lava Flows and Watch for Whales – “Sunday Walk in the Park”

Join the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP) for a “Sunday Walk in the Park” on December 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  This monthly program on second Sundays is aimed at bringing together the members of FHVNP to share in the park’s beautiful trails.

Led by Nick Shema, this month’s 6-mile round-trip walk will explore the Puna Coast Trail.

Puna Coast, Photo: FHVNP

Starting at the Pu‘u Loa Petroglyph Trail parking area, we will follow the Puna Coast Trail for approximately 3 miles (toward ‘Apua Point).  We’ll cross the 1971 and 1972 lava flows and have lunch overlooking the ocean while watching for whales.  Then we’ll return via the same trail.

This moderately strenuous 6-mile round-trip hike will traverse hardened pahoehoe lava along a windswept, sun-soaked landscape.  Hikers should be in good condition, able to do without shade all day in a remote, rugged area.

Participants provide their own transportation to the Pu‘u Loa Petroglyph Trail parking area in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.  From Highway 11, between mile markers 28 and 29, turn into Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (entrance fees apply).  Turn immediately left at Crater Rim Drive and then left at Chain of Craters Road.  When you are almost to the coast, look for the parking area for the Pu‘u Loa Petroglyph Trail.  Approximate travel from Hilo is 1.5 hours and from Kailua-Kona is 3.5 hours.  To view maps, visit http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/maps.htm

FHVNP’s “Sunday Walk in the Park” is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the non-profit organization in order to attend.  Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families, and come with a variety of benefits.

To register, call Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes Park at 985-7373 or visit www.fhvnp.org