NOAA: Drone technology aids whale research off Hawaii


HONOLULU (AP) — Federal researchers returning from a 30-day expedition to study whales and dolphins around the Hawaiian islands are looking for clues to help sustain healthy populations of the marine mammals.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists told reporters Wednesday that gathering data on the animals is often difficult, especially around the windward coasts of the Hawaiian Islands.

The team worked from a large ship, instead of using their normally small survey boats.

They also used drones to photograph the whales and dolphins.

The researchers took tissue samples and attached satellite tags to some whales to monitor their movements.

The team had three separate encounters with killer whales, which are rarely seen around Hawaii.

Using underwater acoustic detection technology, scientists also heard the calls of an unidentified species of illusive beaked whales.

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