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Archive for the ‘Pohaku/RO28’ Category

(P)update #24

PK2 and RK22 logged a three-hour swim today. Two feedings were also observed.

Photo credit: G. Langley

Photo credit: G. Langley

While mom and pup were swimming, our stalwart volunteer gathered some trash on the beach. This is also part of the work of the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui, as marine debris is a known threat to the survival of the species. Some have even gotten entangled in ghost fishing line and nets and drowned.


Lastly, here’s RO28’s pup, PK3.

Photo credit: G. Langley

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(P)update #23

Back at the other end of the beach, PK2 continues to put on weight, take long swims, and nap.

Now might be a good time to talk about weaning. As we’ve mentioned before, RK22 is not eating during this time. All her energy reserves are going to PK2. While PK2 puts on weight, RK22 loses. Hunger will eventually force RK22 back to the sea. When that happens, she will, most likely, not return, and pup will be considered weaned. RK22 weaned her last three pups when they were 34, 44, and 35 days old, respectively. 

Photo credit: G. Langley

Photo credit: G. Langley

 

And here is PK3 at three days old.

Photo credit: G. Langley

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(P)update #22

At one day old, PK3 is still pretty attached to mom RO28, keeping in close touch with her at all times. Today, we recorded PK3’s first nursing session. It lasted all of nine minutes. We’re gathering a life history on RO28, and we’ll have that for you soon.

RO28 and PK3-3.jpg

RO28 and PK3.jpgRO28 and PK3-2-2.jpg

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(P)update #21

Welcome to the world PK3, born to RO28 this very morning.


Meanwhile, PK2 continues to grow.

Photo credit: G. Langley

Photo credit: G. Langley

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We have three pups in three stages.

Hawaiian monk seal flippers up

Photo credit: V. Bloy

G13 weaned after 43 days, and is exploring the reef, spending much of her time in the water like this–sticking her head under rocks and crevices. She’s also sporting spiffy flipper tags–G12/G13. This is the time of her life where she’s figuring out what’s good to eat. She’s likely snacking on things such as sea cucumbers that won’t continue to be part of her regular diet. G13 has a good store of fat. Hunger is not yet driving her to forage far and wide. She continues to hang out near her natal beach but is starting to range a bit more. As she gets more confidence, stronger, and hungrier, she will forage outside the reef farther off-shore, and we’ll find her hauled out on beaches elsewhere on Kaua`i.

Hawaiian monk seal pup V22RK22 weaned PK2 after 41 days of nursing. Likewise, he is healthy and plump and sticks close to the beach where he was born. The two weaners have even been sighted rolling in the shallow water together. Shortly after PK2 was weaned, he was bleach tagged on his side as “V22.” Soon, he’ll get flipper tags.

Both weaners are often visited on the beach by various males, including R8HY, RK05, T320, among others.

Hawaiian monk seal mom and pupRO28 continues to nurse PK3, who can get quite vocal when he’s hungry, and has even been known to vocalize while he’s nursing–as well as, fall asleep while receiving his regular nutritious nourishment. His girth is nearly the same as his mother’s, as she has not feeding during these past four weeks. This is normal monk seal biology. It’s her own hunger that will finally force 028 to wean her pup. When she does, PK3 will be on his own, swimming the seas and mastering seal life.

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hawaiian monk seal mom and pup

Photo credit: Rogers

One. On tax day, April 15, 2015, we welcomed our first Kauai pup of the year when RK13 gave birth to a big, healthy female. Volunteer Gary Langley reported the pup nursed several times during her first morning of life, and while still a few hours old, she took her first swim. All during PK1’s first week of life, the pair was visited by several males RK05, RV18 and a new-to-us monk seal, Temp 310, who chased all others the away. RK13 is an older, productive female that has only pupped once on Kauai. She usually pups on Ni’ihau.

hawaiian monk seal and pup swimming

Photo credit: Rogers

Two. On May 15, 2015, we welcomed PK2 to Kauai, born to RK22, making this her fifth pup in five years. She’s sure turned into a good mother after a rough start in which she abandoned two pups two years in a row. But she can be a little wary, and as with all mothers in the animal kingdom, can be quite protective of her offspring. A few wildlife viewing measures are always important to keep in mind when near RK22 (and any other monk seals): Give them plenty of space; stay out of their line of sight; position yourself downwind; and camouflage yourself by staying low to the ground in and amongst bushes when possible. The goal is to watch without disturbing.

hawaiian monk seal mom and pup

Photo credit: Rogers

Three. On May 26, 2015, we welcomed PK3 to Kauai, born to RO28 who arrived from Oahu only days before. This young mother was born on Kauai but likes to spend her adult days on Oahu–until it’s time to pup. Then, she returns to her natal beach. Like RK22, this mother is very protective and has been aggressive towards people approaching her on the beach or in the water, so we request people give her a wide berth. Amazingly, volunteer Julie Honnert was on the beach with her video camera running when the big event happened. Check out this amazing video!

So, three, so far. And we expect more. Stay tuned. And, as always, if you’d like to volunteer with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui on Kauai, please email kauaiseals@gmail.com. And if you run across any seals on the beach, please take a quick health assessment and report any sightings to the hotline–808-651-7668.

 

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Field Notes: Sept/Oct 2010

We need your help!  RK22, an adult female seal who has abandoned at least two of her pups in the past (2007 and 2008), has been sighted several times at North Larsen’s beach.  She has flipper tags 6FD/6FH.  It is important for us all to keep a close watch for her, and to photograph her as often as she is sighted.  This will help us determine whether she is pregnant, and help us formulate a plan in the case that she abandons future pup.  In both 2009 and 2010, RK22 disappeared toward the end of her apparent pregnancies, and reappeared 6-8 weeks later, no longer pregnant.  There are several possibilities here: she may be pupping and nursing successfully, she may be losing the pup(s) before or after their birth, she may be abandoning them.  In order for us to learn more about RK22 and ensure the safety of her future pups, we need to keep a close eye on her.   To learn more about RK22’s pup, Ho’ailona (KP2), go here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/kp2.htm

Speaking of mama seals, Kauai’s seven-time mom RK12 is looking quite pregnant.  Our observations indicate that she will likely have her next pup in December 2010!  Her last pup (Mahalo’eha, RA36) was born the day after Thanksgiving Day 2009 at Maha’ulepu.

Photo by Michele Bane, RK12 at Lawai Beach on 10/16/2010

Pohaku (RO28), our young adult female seal who was de-hooked on Good Friday 2010 and frequents Poipu and Larsen’s beaches, has flown the coop!  She was spotted on Oahu at Kaena Point just in time for the Semi-Annual Hawaiian Monk Seal Count!  She has been re-sighted twice, and aside from a new cookiecutter shark bite on her back, she looks great!

The adult male seal with the bleach mark V28 has been sighted on the east shore several times recently.  Our PIFSC research team first sighted him earlier this year, when he turned out to be a less-than-ideal candidate for a cell phone tracking tag.  His body condition looks good, but his behavior and appearance were slightly abnormal.  In particular, his eyes were of concern.  If you see V28, please report him to the Monk Seal Hotline (651-7668), and take photos from a distance of his eyes if possible.

Our Semi-Annual Hawaiian Monk Seal Count on October 16th went very well, with all zones covered by dedicated volunteers!!  We counted 12 seals on Kauai, and the other islands’ counts went as follows:  Oahu – 12, Kaho’olawe – 3, Molokai – 4, Lani – 1, Maui – 1, Big Island – 1, Ni’ihau – 47!  Please keep in mind that this count is not our most scientific approach to population assessment, as a good number of seals were likely in the water during the count.  It is, however, a great way to build community awareness of our critically endangered seals!

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