Archive for May, 2022

On May 13, a Malama Na Honu volunteer called the hotline at dusk to report a large female green sea turtle hauling onto the beach was entangled with a fishing lure. Photos revealed a large orange bobber with trailing monofilament line was cutting into the turtle’s right fore-flipper. Unfortunately, it was too late in the day–too dark–to respond. Based on the photos, NOAA’s Marine Turtle Stranding Program determined intervention was likely necessary.

PC: C. Keesee

On May 18, the turtle was sighted again, this time without the bobber. But a deep wound remained and monofilament line was encircling and strangulating the flipper. It was determined that surgery was needed to treat the wound and save the limb. NOAA’s Marine Turtle Stranding Program organized transport to the Maui Ocean Center where radiographs revealed a pathological fracture, requiring amputation of the flipper. Follow-up care and rehabilitation should result in the eventual release of this turtle. Amazingly, sea turtles adjust to missing a flipper and can swim and move on the beach with three flippers.

This past weekend a visitor reported a basking turtle with a fishing lure and two small treble hooks caught on the neck of a large honu. It was determined the lure with small hooks was not life-threatening, but the trailing monofilament line could entangle and strangle the neck and/or limbs, and a fisherman on the scene was able to remove the line. NOAA has a Fishing Around Sea Turtle (FAST)program for fishermen to cut away fishing lines in an effort to prevent deadly entanglements. Hopefully in the next few days, this honu will reappear for the team to respond and remove the lure. 

PC: D. Warden

Yesterday, a fisherman called the hotline to report hooking a large sea turtle with a barbless hook and that the line broke with about 10” of trailing line. When fishermen can not bring the turtle to shore or a boat to remove the fishing lines, it’s recommended (with a turtle or seal!) to call the stranding hotline at 1-888-256-9840. The stranding network can trigger a search for the entangled animal to prevent injury and/or death.

Maui Ocean Center Turtle hospital: 


FAST program:


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Field Report: April 2022

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 294 seal sightings this month. This included 26 individually identified seals.

  • April: 294
  • March: 292
  • February: 233
  • January: 233
  • December: 267
  • November: 168
  • October: 229
  • September: 251
  • August: 213
  • July: 286
  • June: 218
  • May: 209
  • April: 155


·       Monk seal activity in the Poipu area remains high, with several seals hauled out daily on the very busy Poipu Beaches. 


·       New subadult male with bleach mark V11 (temporary ID of V11) is exhibiting concerning behavior by approaching people in the water within three feet, with an obvious interest in humans and no signs of fear. Displacements from the keiki pool in Poipu by staff also revealed the seal has very little fear of humans, but instead boldly approaches crowding boards. Update: this seal was displaced from the keiki pool four times in April and continues to show very little fear of humans. Will continue to closely monitor this seal.

Molting: One seal completed a molt last month at Poipu, a challenging location to manage. 

Displacements: It was a very busy month with 12 displacements from the keiki pool. There were many seals in the Poipu area socializing, mounting, and playing together all day long. Several subadult males showed very little fear or reaction to displacement, specifically RK58 and V11. The following seals were displaced:

·       V11 subadult male – four times

·       RK58 subadult male – four times

·       Temp 609 subadult male – one time

·       RF28 adult male – one time

·       RM28 juvenile female – two times

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On the flipper heels of last week’s news that the Hawaiian monk seal population surpassed 1,500 (1,570 to be exact) for the first time in 20 years, several female Hawaiian monk seals rolled out of the ocean and galumphed ashore on Kauai looking rather plump. Plump as in possibly pregnant. And, no, these three were not included in Monday, April 25th’s update in these digital pages. (Because, apparently, once you publish something, new facts like monk seals emerge!)

Here they are:

RK42 with yearling RP20 for size perspective. PC: M. Olry

RK42 was born in 2018 and sighted only once or twice in the two subsequent years and not at all in 2021. Then, she popped up in March earlier this year and again last week at Mahaulepu. She might spend most of her time at Kipu Kai, but, who knows, could be Niihau, too. RK42 is the daughter of one-time regular “pupper” RK13, who–up there in age–hasn’t been sighted for about a year. It’s good to know RK13’s offspring survives, looking all grown up and quite healthy. Who knows, although a little young, maybe she’ll pup later this year.

R7GM talking to RN30. PC: M. Olry

R7GM is another seal who hasn’t been reported much in recent years (and not at all this year) only to be sighted this weekend looking large and in charge (as she reminds adult male RN30). R7GM was tagged as an adult. There’s no record of her pupping on Kauai, likely heading to Niihau when it’s time to give birth.

RK14. PC: M. Olry

RK14 regularly hauls out on the north shore and is not averse to rocky substrates for naptime. She is unusual, because she only has three teats, instead of the regular four. That and a natural bleach mark on her head help identify her. RK14 has been sighted in the past with a pup on Niihau. Possibly pushing 20 years of age, RK14 has been instrumental in helping boost the population of Hawaiian monk seals to record levels in recent years.

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