For an animal that can weigh more than two dozen tons, humpback whales sure can catch some air.As the above image shows, humpback whales often take flight in Alaska s Kenai Fjords National Park, at the edge of the North Pacific Ocean. The whales enormous size makes for spectacular splashdowns. Male humpbacks grow to an average length of 46 feet (14 meters) and an average weight of 25 tons. Females are even bigger, at an average of 49 feet (14.9 m) long and 35 tons in weight.
Humpbacks are identified by their distinctive body shape and unusually long flippers, which are almost one third of the whale s total body length. Humpback whales dorsal fins are often a small triangular nubbin with a hump that is noticeable when a whale arches its back to dive. Humpback whales are often white or partially white. A white marking on the underside of the tail is like a marine mammal name tag in that each white marking is unique to each whale.Humpback whales are an endangered species. Their worldwide population was estimated in 2007 at 30,000 to 40,000 whales. The North Pacific population found in Alaska is thought to be around 6,000 whales.