Archive for October, 2022

Field Report: September 2022

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 400 seal sightings this month. This included 41 individually identified seals.

  • September: 400
  • August: 320
  • July: 311
  • June: 283
  • May: 248
  • April: 294
  • March: 292
  • February: 233
  • January: 233
  • December: 267
  • November: 168
  • October: 229
  • September: 251


·       Nothing to report.


·       Continue to closely monitor yearling RP32 who is in thin body condition. The seal is likely in pre-molt.

·       RK28 gave birth to PK3 (3rd pup of the year for Kauai). The usual signage was erected and the pup watch schedule continued. The male pup is thriving, and weaned in early October (which will be reported in the next report).

Molting: 5 seals molted this past month.

Bleaching: 3 seals were bleach marked.

Vaccination: Vaccinated weaned pup RQ52.

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Last week, a visitor exploring the coastline on the north shore of Kauai discovered two monk seals and called the Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui hotline. 

Because one of the seals was bleach-marked with a noticeable “V6” on its side, the seal was able to be identified as RQ60

RQ60 was born earlier this year. She was reported to be hauled out on rocks at a remote pocket cove near Princeville. This is the first sighting of her in this area. She weaned earlier this summer on July 15th and, almost immediately, started exploring the coastline beyond her natal beach.

Another Kauai seal, RK42 is on the move, too. RK42 was born in 2018 to one-time regular pupper RK13, and she was recently sighted off Molokai.

It’s not unusual for Hawaiian monk seals to seem to have favorite haunts; however, it’s also not unusual for them to explore far and wide. Read this post to learn more about the many Hawaiian monk seals with a Kauai – Kaena Point (Oahu) connection. 

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Monk Seal Monday #174: RK28 Weans Pup

Wrapping 39 days of nursing, a thin RK28 was last seen with her pup on October 3rd. She’s now, foraging to replenish her lost energy stores while PK3 is learning how to forage on his own.

PC: A Kaufmann
PC: A Kaufmann

PK3 will be flipper-tagged in the next couple weeks. Meanwhile, one way to identify him is by a natural bleach mark on his mid-back.

PC: A Kaufmann

PK3 pupped at a low birth weight, but by weaning had certainly plumped up to a healthy size.

PC: M. Olry

For now, PK3 is in his mouthy stage, exploring the nearshore waters, as well as, the beach for what might be tasty.

PC: R Kulhanek

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Earlier this year, a volunteer with mālama i nā honu reported a green sea turtle hauled out at Poipu had a large orange bobber and monofilament line encircling her right fore flipper. After examination and concern about the line cutting off circulation, the turtle was captured and flown to Maui Ocean Center where radiographs revealed a pathological fracture to the bone, requiring surgical amputation in order to save the turtle. 

After surgery and about three weeks of care, the turtle—sporting an identification of KA43—was returned to Poipu Beach and released. She immediately head for the water, making good strokes, and swam off. She has since been reported basking on the beach at Poipu. 

According to NOAA Sea Turtle Recovery Coordinator Irene Kelly, turtles with three flippers seem to do just fine, including making long migration swims. However, there can be some challenges. A male who loses a fore flipper may not be able to grasp a female properly during mating. A female who loses a hind flipper may not be able to dig a nest chamber. So reproduction success may be compromised.

The good news is KA43 is female, and she lost her right fore flipper, meaning she should be able to dig nest chambers just fine. 

Unfortunately, entanglements with fishing line and gear are on the rise in the main Hawaiian Islands. Thankfully, a group of divers are helping clean up harbors where sea turtles have been known to get entangled and die.

Hoʻmalu Ke Kai is a community organization dedicated to helping with the marine debris issue plaguing our island. They help with beach cleanups and, even, underwater cleanups at Kukuiʻula and Ahukini harbors. 

It takes a hui of concerned people to care for Kauai’s wildlife.

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