Female humpbacks in Hawaii are almost always accompanied by one or more males.
A female may be calmly accompanied by a single adult male, actively pursued (chased) by a single male, or pursued by multiple competitive males. When a female is pursued by multiple males, the female is eventually left alone with one male, which may or may not be the original male. Whether or not that partnership has led or will lead to mating remains unclear.
There is little doubt that a female humpback does not always seek this male attention and at times tries to discourage or escape it. This may be the reason for cooperative male behavior, as it is much harder to escape two males than one.
The ultimate question is whether a female chooses, either passively or actively, specific males over others.
Whale Trust Maui researchers have been exploring this question of female choice in humpbacks by exploring the effect of male body size and behavior (proximity, sounds, whale songs) on female behavior and movement patterns.