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whales Kohola Leo to discuss humpback whales

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Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:30 am

HANAPEPE — The charismatic creatures have worldwide appeal, and in Hawai‘i, humpback whales draw people to coastlines and tour boats to get better views of the marine mammals.

But who are the whales?

Presented by the Friends of the Hanapepe Public Library, Kalasara Setaysha will lead a discussion titled “Who are the Whales?” Thursday during the monthly lecture series on the Hawaiian marine environment.

The public is invited to the free presentation, which runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hanapepe Public Library meeting room located at 4490 Kona Road in Hanapepe.

Setaysha, the vice chair of Kohola Leo, will be discussing the biology and behaviors of humpback whales, which return to breeding grounds in Hawai‘i during the winter and spring.

Evidence indicates humpback whales are extremely intelligent with complex social relationships, culture and language.

“As we put the pieces together, we find that we may have more in common with our ocean friends than previously thought,” Setaysha says in a news release.

During the presentation, Setaysha will discuss threats and challenges to whales and their habitat, along with what the public can do to help.

Kohola Leo is a local organization which serves to be a voice for whales.

The organization aims to generate care, compassion and action from the public to help protect the whales and their habitat through education and public outreach, including the sponsorship of free monthly movie showings about cetaceans and other ocean-related topics.

Ahead of the arrival of the humpback whales, Kohola Leo hosts the annual Welcome Home, Whales ceremony in Kapa‘a as well as conducting presentations at various venues, advocating for whale protection.

Setaysha became inspired to learn about cetacean worlds at 6 years old when three orca approached her family’s dive boat.

She has spent time with cetaceans in the United States, Tahiti, Australia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama, learning the different sanctuary styles of management to protect whales from human negligence and misunderstanding.

She has been a voice for the whales for much of her adult life through outreach and education.

Setaysha has been friends with the Ocean Mammal Institute for 16 years and part of the Hawai‘i Noise Coalition, supporting an international ban on the use of certain sonar.

The Hawaiian Marine Environment lecture series took a break during January and returns with Setaysha’s presentation.

Call 335-8414 for more information.

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