Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2022

Monk Seal Monday #170: Meet RQ52

Early last week, R400 weaned PK2 after 38 days of nursing. Because PK2 was born on a beach that sees heavy truck traffic, as well as, off-shore boat traffic (where she would be learning to swim on her own), it was decided to translocate PK2 to a safer beach elsewhere on the island–one with other monk seals present and an off-shore reef, providing her with a lovely lagoon in which to nose around and learn how to be a monk seal.

Prior to translocating, PK2 was tagged and is now, officially, RQ52–wearing a red tag with Q52 in the webbing on her left rear flipper and Q53 in the webbing on her right rear flipper. Her measurements were good for a healthy Hawaiian monk seal weaner in the Main Hawaiian Islands–133 centimeters long and 121 centimeters around below the fore flippers. She also received her first vaccination to protect her from morbillivirus and will be boostered in three weeks.

The translocation went smoothly with RQ52 sleeping in her transport carrier on a cool evening with some rain as the team drove through Kapaa. She was released about 50 yards from RQ60, who is about month older. Within a couple minutes, they found each and were left snorting and rolling around together on the beach.

By the next day, RQ60 had moved east down the coastline. Meanwhile, as recently weaned seals will do, RQ52 has approached other monk seals, attempting to nurse. In one case, adult male RN30 was not having it, nipping at her. She’s also been sighted hauled out near two-year-old RM36 and, on one occasion, a turtle.

RQ52 has also been spotted tossing around sea cucumbers. This is quite typical of newly-weaned pups as they decide what’s good to eat. Sea cucumbers are generally not something monk seals consume.

Volunteers are still needed to monitor these young Hawaiian monk seals. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please email kauaiseals@gmail.com or call 808-651-7668.

Read Full Post »

Monk Seal Monday #169: Meet RQ60

After a whopping 50 days of nursing, RB00 weaned PK1 on July 15th. A few days later, she was bleach-marked V6. The next day, she was flipper-tagged Q60 (left flipper) and Q61 (right flipper).

This process usually takes about five minutes and includes a brief restraint while plastic flipper tags are applied in the webbing of the rear flippers. Her official ID is RQ60. The R indicates that she is part of the Main Hawaiian Island population and the Q indicates she was born in 2022, and 60 is her unique ID. During the tagging process RQ60’s length and girth were also measured, and a microchip was injected under the skin on her right flank.

Now, some interesting facts:

  • Average nursing days for “Kauai” mothers runs 42 days.
  • RB00’s longest nursing record on Kauai was 54 days in 2019. Pup was a male, RL08.
  • RB00 nursed RQ60 for 50 days.
  • At tagging, RL08‘s axillary girth measurement (around his body below his fore flippers) measured 143 centimeters. His length from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail measured 145 centimeters long.
  • At tagging, RQ60’s axillary girth measured 130 centimeters and her length came in at an astonishing 152 centimeters.

So, RB00 continues to produce some super-sized weaners.

Since tagging, RQ60 continues to hang out at her natal beach, spending more and more time in the water, investigating what the sea offers, including a few sea cucumbers. This is very typical behavior for Hawaiian monk seal weaners, as they figure out what’s good to eat in the sea.

What’s more, RQ60 has been hanging out with other young seals, including her older sister, two-year-old RM36.

On Oahu, RQ60’s grandmother RH58 (“Rocky”) has been making headlines again. She pupped on busy Waikiki beach a few weeks ago and, unfortunately, there have been various interactions with swimmers, including an altercation resulting in injuries to one swimmer. It’s always a good to steer clear of mother monk seals and their pups–give them extra wide berth in the water.

Read Full Post »