NOAA begins taking volunteers for whale count

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is starting to register volunteers on Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island for an annual humpback whale count.

The Garden Island newspaper reported Thursday that the project is looking for people to monitor whales from 60 locations statewide, including 15 sites on Kauai.

NOAA officials say population counts for humpback whales are still relatively unknown. Some of the endangered whales migrate south each winter from Alaska to breed.

Kauai Program Coordinator Jean Souza of NOAA says people don't realize how much whale activity they can see from shore.

She says each of three counts on Kauai generally draw between 150 and 200 volunteers.

The count was named the best federal volunteer program in 2012 by Take Pride in America.

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