Thousands of humpback whales missing from Hawaiian waters
Every year around this time, thousands of humpback whales arrive in Hawaiian waters, spurring a frenzy of related activities by tourists and locals alike.
According to Ed Lyman from Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary, this time around, only a relative handful have gotten there on schedule.
Experts are not entirely sure why the remainder are experiencing delays, but do have a couple of theories.
One is that El Niño has affected water temperatures, food availability, and migration patterns.
See photos of humpbacks in the wild:
The majority of the traveling humpback whales may be spending a bit more time north of their usual destination.
The other theory also involves food resources, but focuses on a possible lack of them.
Humpback whale populations are believed to be booming, and while that is welcome news, it also means there is more competition for resources.
In that scenario, the animals taking the more than 2,000 mile trek from the waters west of Alaska and Canada may be running behind schedule as finding nourishment is taking longer than usual.
Either way, there are uncertainties about how the delay will affect the duration of the whales' stay once they do arrive.