Moon the humpback whale has made the treacherous 3,000-mile journey from British Columbia to Hawaii. While scientists are amazed at her determination and will, they don’t believe she will live long enough to make it back. Recently, Moon was hit by a vessel that broke her back. Her tail is stuck in an S curve, which prevents her from using it. She made the entire journey using her pectoral fins.
On September 7th, a humpback whale swam past the Fin Island Research Station. When the drone hovered over the whale, the research team realized a big issue with the whale’s back. It could have been struck by either a small vessel at high speeds or a larger ship at slow speeds. Either way, her back is broken, and nothing can be done for her now. After evaluating the photos, researchers realized it was Moon. They have followed her over the years and even saw her have a calf two years ago.
On December 1st, Moon the humpback whale was seen in Maui. While this was an incredible feat for her, the story will not end happily. Moon is emaciated and covered in sea lice. The long journey took everything out of her. Why would she travel so far knowing there isn’t food for her in Hawaii? According to researcher Janie Wray, she probably made this journey with her mother every year. She was keeping up with tradition and was most likely born here. It could also be possible that she is pregnant and came here to give birth.
While this story doesn’t have a happy ending, it’s a reminder always to report any whale accident you might have seen or encountered. It would have helped the research team track the whale and understand what had happened. It’s also a good reminder that vessels need to be at least 100 yards away from whales and other cetaceans.