December 22, 2010
KAPing uses kites to suspend cameras, providing a birds-eye view of a scene without need for a plane. It's been around for more than a century, but because of technological advancements has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The humpback whale population being studied alternates its range from Alaskan waters, where krill is plentiful, to Hawaii where they give birth and nurture their calves. To get to Hawaii, the whales undertake one of the most impressive migrations in the animal world by swimming practically nonstop to complete a journey of 6000 miles in 6-8 weeks. The Hawaii KAPing team will be working with the Hawaii Whale Reseach Foundation to produce a short film documenting the peak of humpback whale migration to the islands, which occurs in February and March. Globally, the humpback whale population is estimated to number at least 80,000 individuals.
Humpback whale breaching in Alaska. Photo by Rhett A. Butler