January 5, 2016
Photograph by Jonathan Kingston, National Geographic Creative
A humpback whale dives in the waters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary off the shore of Maui, Hawaii. The sanctuary was created in 1992 to protect the whales and their habitat. Humpback whales are listed as an endangered species; however, the North Pacific humpbacks' numbers have grown thanks to protections granted under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The waters of the main Hawaiian Islands are the only known U.S. coastal areas where humpbacks mate, calve, and nurse their offspring.