Archive for the ‘Pohaku/RO28’ Category

RO28 and pup 2Twelve years ago, Kauai’s newest mom, RO28, was born in nearly the same spot she gave birth last week. While monk seals tend to have unique personalities and proclivities, it’s not uncommon for females to return to their natal beach sites when it’s their time to give birth. In fact, RO28 has pupped along the same stretch of coastline for six years in a row.

What’s more unique than that is the fact that RO28’s six pups are all still alive.

With all the threats facing Hawaiian monk seals–entanglements in marine debris, ingested fish hooks, intentional harm by humans, and the growing threat of toxoplasmosis–somehow all of RO28’s six pups have, thus far, evaded them all.

Point of note: RO28’s mother was RK06 who was shot by a fisherman in 2009. Even RO28 herself has run into some challenges. In 2010, she turned up with a fishhook in her mouth. Shortly after it was removed, she crossed the 100-mile open ocean channel to Oahu where she spends most of her time–until it’s time to give birth. Then, she makes the return journey to her natal site. Within a few days of arriving, she pups. The timing is impressive.

Here’s a recap of RO28’s pupping history:

  • In 2013, RO28 gave birth to RN30 who has recently traveled to Oahu
  • In 2014, RO28 gave birth to RF28 who now hangs out at Niihau
  • In 2015, RO28 gave birth to RG28 who often hauls out on Kauai’s South Shore. This birth was captured on video by one of our volunteers and can be seen here.
  • In 2016, RO28 gave birth to RH80 who regularly circumnavigates Kauai
  • In 2017, RO28 gave birth to RJ28 who can be found on beaches on Kauai’s North Shore and East Side


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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Two more pups have joined the Hawaiian monk seal population.

On June 26, RK28 gave birth to a healthy pup, her first pup born on Kauai in four years. Here is PK3 on the day of his/her birth.

rk28 and pup day oneAs you may recall, in 2014, RK28’s two-week old pup was tragically killed during a night-time dog(s) attack that also left dozens of puncture wounds on four other seals, including RK28 who likely valiantly tried her best to protect her pup. It was a tragedy, especially since it’s one that could have been prevented simply by not letting dogs run free. Please share this story when chatting with folks on the beach about the various threats these endangered monk seals face. To read more about this tragedy, click here.

Two years ago, in 2016, RK28 was observed with large mobbing wounds and abscesses on her back, the scars of which are still visible on her back. These wounds are caused by male monk seals and have been observed in other females. The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program reports this kind of male behavior can involve multiple males competing to mate with an adult female or a single male targeting a younger seal. To read more about adult male aggression, click here.

But back to some good news. Just two days ago, on June 30, RO28 provided the species with another member. This is RO28’s sixth pup in as many years on Kauai. Here is PK4 on the day of his/her birth. RO28 and pup day one

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The Kauai team logged 33 individually identified monk seals on Kauai in May, for a grand total of 332 sightings. This equates to more than 10 monk seals sighted and reported per day.


  • Juvenile female R7AA hauled out onto roads or parking lots three times in the Poipu area this past month. In order to prevent injury from vehicle traffic she was quickly displaced back onto the beach and into the water.
  • We are currently tracking several pregnant females that we expect to pup any day now. That includes the well known RK30 and a more reclusive seal RK22. Two other females, RH58 and RO28, that are typically on Oahu but come back to their birth beaches on Kauai to pup, are both pregnant and approaching their due dates.


  • RK13 gave birth to PK1 at Mahaulepu Beach on 4/20/2018. Extensive monitoring was immediately set-up and continues. Pup weaned after 37 days of nursing. Tagged as RK42. Mother, RK13, became unusually thin prior to weaning, but has been sighted several times since weaning. The pup has begun socializing with other seals, specifically with a 3-year old female bleach-marked V2.

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(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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