Archive for September, 2022

The more surprising whale species spotted on extremely rare occasions in Hawaiian waters is the killer whale (Orcinus orca). In late August, Cascadia Research Collective sighted a group of killer whales off Kona and, for only the third time, were able to deploy a satellite tag on a single individual. A couple days after tagging, the research team re-located the individual and its group and witnessed as the killer whales tossed a dwarf sperm whale into the air in their successful pursuit of it. (Dwarf sperm whales can grow up to eight feet in length. Killer whales grow to an average of 20 to 26 feet.) Killer whales in Hawaiian waters are known to have a generalist diet, feeding on cephalopods, sharks, and other marine mammals.

As of September 24, the tag was still transmitting data, showing the group was still cruising the Hawaiian Islands. According to a Facebook post by Cascadia Research Collective, they have photo-identified 77 different individuals in Hawaiian waters. The satellite-tagged individual was confirmed to match a group seen off Kona a year earlier.

In 2008, an emaciated killer whale stranded at Brennecke’s Beach on the south shore and was euthanized. She was reported to be in extremely poor condition.

Click here to learn more about killer whales in Hawaiian waters.

Click on the link below to see photos and tracking maps of the tagged killer whale and its group.

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Monk Seal Monday #173: Growing Pup

Like normal growing pups, PK3 is spending more and more time in the water. He’s long, robust, and growing quickly. RK28 seems to be holding her weight, too. PK3 is 25 days old today, so should have another 2-3 weeks with his mom. PK3’s three-year-old sister, RL28, has been hanging out nearby lately too.

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Field Report: August 2022

The Kauai team logged 320 seal sightings this month. This included 32 individually identified seals.

  • August: 320
  • July: 311
  • June: 283
  • May: 248
  • April: 294
  • March: 292
  • February: 233
  • January: 233
  • December: 267
  • November: 168
  • October: 229
  • September: 251
  • August: 213


·       RK28 gave birth to PK3 (3rd pup of the year for Kauai) on the north shore. The usual signage was erected and the pup watch schedule continued. The male pup is thriving.

·       Closely monitored yearling RP32 who is in thin body condition. The seal is likely in pre-molt.


·       RP28 – hooked and trailing line. Hook was non-life threatening in right corner of the mouth. Removed leader with metal swivel using a seat belt cutter mounted on a pole. Will monitor RP28, anticipate hook will come out on its own. UPDATE: seal was re-sighted several times this month and is hook-free; the seal threw the hook on his own.

·       An adult seal was sighted at Secret’s Beach with heavy line trailing from the mouth. The seal was chased off by an off-leash dog before staff arrived. The seal’s ID is unknown and no further reports of a hooked seal have been received. UPDATE: no further reports or sightings.

·       Pup translocation: female pup PK2 who was born at Polihale to R400 was immediately translocated to the north shore after weaning. The pup was tagged RQ52 (Q52/Q53 tags) and is thriving in her new location, socializing with many other seals in the area. UPDATE: the seal has remained in the release area and is thriving.

Molting: 3 seals molted this past month.

Vaccination: Vaccinated weaned pup RQ52.


·       Trained 5 new volunteers

·       Volunteer pup watch schedule is in place for the pups and weaners on the north shore.

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