Archive for February, 2022

The beaches on Kauai’s south side get busier every day. As COVID numbers fall and restrictions ease, more bodies are populating the beaches. Not just two-legged humans. More Hawaiian monk seals are hauling out at these same popular beaches–and rocky coastlines. Only the seals are not just chilling on the beach, sleeping until it’s time to return to the water in search of their next meal. They’re staying active.

It could be spring is in the air. Because as females haul out, males do, too. At first, one, guarding her. Then, when another male appears, the guard chases him off. Sometimes, the guard gets chased off. Meanwhile, females are getting chased around the beach. In other words, wild animals are being wild animals on a busy beach and its near shore waters. That’s not always safe for the humans.

What’s needed are volunteers. Luckily, the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui is cleared to start training (or re-training) volunteers. Call 808-651-7668. Or email kauaiseals@gmail.com for more information. You might just get to witness some unusual Hawaiian monk seal behavior.

PC: M. Olry
PC: J. Honnert
PC: J. Honnert

And here’s a blurry but evident video of the action on the beach. Video by Lifeguard Dylan.

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Monk Seal Monday #157: New Kid in Town

Last week, an unknown subadult male hauled out on the south shore, sporting a clean coat and no flipper tags. He was estimated to be four years old, a little too big for the available tagging team, so he was bleach-marked V11. Nothing is known about his history, but health-wise, he looks good. If he continues to show up, he’ll likely get his official flipper tags in the future.

PC: J. Honnert

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Field Report: January 2022

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 233 seal sightings this month. This included 29 individually identified seals.

  • January: 233
  • December: 267
  • November: 168
  • October: 229
  • September: 251
  • August: 213
  • July: 286
  • June: 218
  • May: 209
  • April: 155
  • March: 137
  • February: 119
  • January: 125


·       Several seals have large fresh cookie cutter shark bites in critical locations. The team is closely monitoring these seals as their wounds are healing.

·       Received reports of two more incidents of large pit bulls chasing seals into the water at Maha’ulepu. No observed contact was made in either case.


·       No seals have been sighted with injuries of abscesses consistent with the dog attack report we received last month. Here is the previous report: A large dog attacked an unknown seal at Tunnels (Makua) Beach. The public reported the attack to the hotline, and the owner of the dog self-reported to DOCARE. The dog accidentally got away from the owner and attacked the seal, biting and holding onto the seal as the seal entered the water. The dog did not release and was pulled underwater until the owner got into the water and pulled the dog off the seal. The dog sustained minor bite injuries. It is unknown if the seal was injured. Based on conversations with the dog owner, the seal was likely 200-300 pounds and a subadult or adult. The owner provided vet vaccination records to DOCARE and expressed significant remorse; therefore no citation was issued by DOCARE, just a verbal warning.

·       The Juvenile female R2XW completed a protracted molt at Glass Beach near Hanapepe and has recovered body condition.



·       Currently, volunteers are dispatched for hauled out monk seal reports to post signs, assess and ID the seal, collect routine data, and then depart the area. Outreach/education should be as minimal as possible to reduce COVID exposure risk. For busy locations, a spot check schedule will be established. This technique has proven effective and will continue until further notice. 

·       Per state rules, all DLNR volunteers are required to be vaccinated.

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