Hawaiian monk seal pupping season is underway

Hawaiian monk seal pupping season is nicely underway — with some unhappy and joyful information.

Three of the new child pups of the critically endangered species didn’t survive earlier this yr, in keeping with wildlife officers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Officials stated three pups — recognized as RQQ1, RQQ2, and RQQ3 — have been discovered deceased on Oahu in February and March.

“In situations where several deceased pups are found within a relatively short time frame, we work to determine whether there is any connection between the deaths,” stated NOAA Fisheries in a weblog put up. “Fortunately, we have not found a link between their deaths, or any indication of a larger issue such as a disease outbreak. Instead, our findings indicate the pups most likely died from coincidental birthing complications.”

Two of the pups, RQQ1 and RQQ2, have been born to first-time monk seal mothers Kaimana (the pup famend after her delivery at Kaimana Beach Park in Waikiki) and Lei Ola, respectively. The mom of the third pup couldn’t be confirmed.

Two Hawaiian monk seal pups, nonetheless, have been born on Oahu final week, and seem like wholesome and doing nicely.

NOAA confirmed that monk seal RH92 gave delivery to her first pup, P04, on Oahu’s North Shore. NOAA’s nonprofit accomplice, Hawaii Marine Animal Response, first noticed the pair on April 13.

Also, veteran monk seal mother, RN58, or Luana, gave delivery to pup P05 on Oahu’s North Shore on April 14, as witnessed by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

DLNR’s Lesley Macpherson recorded the enjoyment of the monk seal delivery on digicam. She and two volunteers witnessed the delivery of the pup at 2:30 p.m. on April 14 after observing Luana for the previous few weeks.

Pup P05 moved shortly on the seashore as soon as it was born, she stated, scaled a small rock with some preliminary issue, and had its first water expertise by the following day.

Both seal mothers are survivors of fish hookings requiring NOAA’s intervention.

RH92 survived an off-leash canine assault on Kauai as a pup herself in 2016, which resulted in puncture wounds, however recovered, due to remedy by veterinarians. Then in 2019, she swallowed a fishing hook, which NOAA and companions faraway from her abdomen.

Luana additionally ingested a fishing hook as a yearling in 2014, which was eliminated via a profitable surgical procedure.

NOAA Fisheries reminds the general public that monk seal moms and pups needs to be given loads of area — at the least 150 ft of distance — whereas resting or nursing alongside shorelines.

NOAA stated that is to keep away from disturbing them, and guaranteeing the mom stays together with her pup. Monk seals usually nurse their pups for 5 to seven weeks.

“The public should also be aware that mother seals can be very protective of their young and are more likely to exhibit territorial behavior with a pup,” NOAA stated.

Dogs on seashores must also stay leashed to stop incidents with the seals, that are a critically endangered species protected by state and federal legal guidelines.

Although monk seal pups will be born any time of the yr, most births happen throughout spring and summer time. Officials will proceed monitoring the mothers and pups for the following few weeks.

Monk seal sightings needs to be reported to the NOAA marine wildlife hotline at 888-256-9840.

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