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Archive for the ‘RB00’ Category

Field Report: February Report

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 303 seal sightings this month. This included 30 individually identified seals.

Feb: 313
Jan: 284
Dec: 153
Nov: 145
Oct: 203
Sep: 199

New:

  • Adult female RB00 pupped at a remote beach on the North Shore. This is her natal beach, however she had previously pupped on Maui and Lanai, not Kauai. The pup is male and thriving.
  • Subadult female RH38 is currently molting and very thin. This seal was rehabbed at KKO in 2017 due to a heavy parasite burden and emaciated body condition. Currently we are closely monitoring the seal as her molt continues in hopes that she will gain weight as soon as the molt is complete. However, plans to send her to KKO for rehab are being discussed.

Updates:

  • RK58 was reared at Ke Kai Ola from August 4, 2018 until released on Feb 13, 2019 after a 3 day soft-release. This required building a beach pen to hold him, and for staff and volunteers to camp on site to monitor the captive seal prior to release. The seal has shown no signs of interest in humans, and is interacting normally with other seals in the area.
  • Poipu Keiki Pool: Two displacements of subadult male seals R3CX and RG58. occurred this month. This is the third displacement for each from the Keiki Pool.
  • Bleach markings: none
  • Molting: 1 seal molted this month.

Research/Support of PIFSC:

  • Sub-sampled scat, molt, and tissue plug samples accordingly.
  • Logged all seal sightings for PIFSC database. Organized photos and reported sightings, molt tallies, survival factors to send to PIFSC.

 

Here are some images (thanks G. Langley) taken during the past week of PK1. He continues to grow, marks six weeks of life today, and may become a “weaner” in the next few days.

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Monk Seal Monday #50: (P)update!

Kauai’s first pup of the year–PK1 is five weeks old today and continues to grow. Here are some photos from the past few weeks. (Thanks G. Langley for your camera with the telephoto lens!)

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To put things in perspective, here’s video from a few weeks ago that still rate RB00 as ocean liner status and illustrate how small PK1 once was!

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Monk Seal Monday #48: New Pup!

When it comes to Hawaiian monk seal pups, the bigger, the better. A monk seal pup’s size is directly related to his mom. The bigger the mom when she pups, the longer her fat stores will hold out and the longer she’ll nurse before weaning her young one. A “weaner” with a hefty layer of blubber will have more time to figure out what to eat and where to find it. 

That said, Kauai’s first pup (PK1) of the year, a male, has a good chance of becoming a super size weaner.

When RB00 rolled out of the surf in early February and landed on a remote Kauai beach, she was approaching ocean-liner status. If she were a heavy duty truck, she would have been labeled as a wide load. RB00’s anticipated due date was January 20th, but she didn’t pup until Feb. 4, giving her a couple extra weeks to pack on the pounds. And pack on the pounds, she did.

Wide load RB00 hapai

Photo credit: G. Langley

RB00 pupped on a remote beach on Lanai in 2018. She nursed for a whopping six-and-a-half weeks. This year, RB00 surprised us by pupping on Kauai—on the very same beach on which she was born in 2007. RB00 possesses legendary DNA—her mother is RH58, also known as Rocky, who gained international fame when she gave birth on Waikiki Beach in 2017. For a detailed review of RB00’s life, read this post from last year.

PK1 marked his third week of life today, having survived the major windstorm and monster surf of two weeks ago. Here’s a recap in photos of his life thus far.

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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Photo credit: G. Langley

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IMG_0321The eighteen-year-old Hawaiian monk seal known to science as RH58 but more commonly known to thousands of her fans as “Rocky” has returned to Kaua`i and given birth to her 11th pup on a remote stretch of coastline where she has pupped nine previous times.

That news has allowed many, many, many people in the Hawaiian monk seal world to breathe a sign of relief, because they won’t have to worry quite as much about the health and safety of mom and pup and beachgoers as they did last year when Rocky surprised everyone by pupping on busy Waikiki Beach. (Reminder: Protective moms have been known to charge snorkelers and swimmers in the water, so steer clear.)

RH58 nurses pupRocky herself was born on another beach on Kaua`​i back in 2000. At some point in her adulthood, she crossed the 70-mile-wide Ka`ie`iewaho Channel and spends much of her adult life navigating the waters and coastline of O`ahu.

She gave birth on the shores of Kaua`i for the first time in 2006 when she was six years of age.

She continued to live on O`​ahu and pup on Kaua`i with little to no trouble (or drama!) until four years ago.

RH58 nuzzles pupIn 2014, Rocky and her pup were involved in a dog(s) attack. Her pup (RF58) received over 60 bite marks on her body, developing a couple abscesses around her neck. A NOAA veterinary team responded with antibiotics. (This was the same attack in which RK28‘s young pup was killed.) Remember, it’s a state law that all dogs on beaches must be leashed.

Then, in 2017, Rocky pupped on Waikiki Beach, igniting her headline-making days and introducing Hawaiian monk seals to tens of thousands of visitors from across the globe. Their first few weeks together were live-streamed by a local media outlet, and the pupping event sparked numerous Facebook fan pages.

In January 2018, Rocky became a grandmother for the first time when her female pup–RB00–gave birth to a pup (R00K) on Lāna`i. Then, she almost became a grandmother a second time when RK52 pupped earlier this year. Unfortunately, that pup was stillborn. RK52 was born in 2011 and officials have hopes she will give birth to many healthy pups in the future.

Hawaiian monk seals can live to be 25 to 30 years old in the wild, so there’s a good chance Rocky will continue to contribute to the recovery of her species in the years to come. Perhaps Rocky’s next great headline will come in six or seven years when she, RB00, and R00K all three pup in the same year. Now, that would be big news.

Keep returning to this page. Photos and video will be added throughout the next few days.

Meanwhile, if you’d like a historical review of Rocky’s whereabouts when she’s on O`ahu, try searching for “RH58” on the Monk Seal Mania website.

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RB00_01

A young RB00 shortly after acquiring flipper tags.

The female monk seal with the red flipper tags of B00 and B01 is so elusive that she’s never once been mentioned in the nearly 10 years of reports on this website. Now, having pieced together 10 years of her life, we finally have a story about her, and we’re devoting today’s entire post to her. For such an elusive Hawaiian monk seal, this has turned out to be a lengthy report.

On April 28, 2007, the now famous* RH58, also known as “Rocky,” gave birth to a female on one of Kaua‘i’s North Shore beaches. The pup sported a natural bleach mark at birth across her rump in the shape of a heart. As she’s aged, the heart has become more salt and pepper, but it’s visible after she molts. Because of the heart shape, she was nick-named by some “Pu`uwai.” However, some also refer to her as “Boo Baby,” because of her flipper tags—B00. In the official scientific record, however, she’s RB00.

 

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Once RB00 weaned, she took off and was rarely seen. Her NOAA file is fairly thin. Her 10 years of her sightings reports only run about 10 lines.

·      2007: In October, RB00 was instrumented with a satellite tag as part of a study to track the movements of weaned pups and juveniles in the Main Hawaiian Islands.
·      2009: She was sighted twice, both at the same beach on the southeast side of Kaua‘i.
·      2011: In January, she was hazed off a net debris pile on Kaua‘i to avoid possible entanglement. Then, she started popping up on O‘ahu. For the year, she was sighted a total of 8 times between Kaua‘i and O‘ahu.
·      2012: Sighted 15 times between Kaua‘i and O‘ahu.
·      2013: RB00 kept heading southeast and turned up Moloka‘i, recording only one sighting for the year.
·      2014: RB00 backtracked to Kaua‘i where she was sighted twice.
·      2015: RB00 logged five sightings in this year, including on Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, and Maui.
·      2016: In January, RB00 was observed with a dead newborn pup on a remote part of Maui. This was the first confirmed pup for her. After a partial field necropsy, it appeared the full-term male was a stillbirth. Then, it appears RB00 continued moving southeast, because she logged a record 33 sightings for the remainder of the year, almost all on Hawai‘i Island.
·      2017: The sightings slowed back down to five, all on Hawai‘i Island and Maui.

As you can see from RB00’s history, Hawaiian monk seals can and do travel far and wide. But then this year, on January 6, 2018, RB00 notched another island to her portfolio. She was found on a remote beach on the island of Lāna‘i with a healthy female pup that was estimated to be anywhere from one to three days old. The timing of the birth also meant RB00 had provided us with the first Hawaiian monk seal pup of the year in the Main Hawaiian Islands.

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PC: Pūlama Lānaʻi Natural Resources Department

RB00 nursed her pup for a whopping six-and-a-half to seven weeks before weaning. Pup was given a permanent ID of R00K and outfitted with red flipper tags reading K100 and K101. She was also microchipped and vaccinated for morvillivirus.

It just so happens the the ex-Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator, Dr. Rachel Sprague, is the Wildlife Biologist with Pūlama Lānaʻi Department of Natural Resources  and her team monitored mom and pup throughout. Dr. Sprague also shared these anecdotes about her:

·      R00K is the first monk seal pup ever tagged on Lanai, so she is the first monk seal that wherever she goes, it will be known that she is from this island. She is very cute, fat, energetic, and curious.

·      Unlike some monk seal pups, this one didn’t just follow her mom around, but would go into the water first and head off swimming, or go exploring down the beach and mom would have to follow her (or bellow at the pup and she would go flopping back to mom).  Quite a few times, the pup would flop all over her mom and want to go swimming, so mom would follow and lie with her head underwater while the pup played around in the water (mom would pop her head out of the water to take a breath occasionally, and then put it back underwater).  Staff with kids or nieces/nephews would say “I know how mom feels!  Sometimes you ‘can’t even’ and need to just sit with your head underwater for as long as possible so you don’t have to deal and can get some peace and quiet.”

·      When we would go down to the beach to check on her and mom, she was most often swimming in the water, flippers flopping around above the surface while she messed with some sea cucumber or something else on the bottom.  We saw her multiple times on the beach and in the water spending time biting and playing with pieces of marine debris/marine plastics – she is very curious.

·      She is also very very fat! Her mom did a great job of nursing, so she is on the fatter end of weaned pups. She will use all that fat to live off of as she learns to find food for herself and ranges farther.  When we were trying to tag her, we had to wait for about 4 ½ hours in the blowing sand because she was having a great time swimming and wouldn’t come out of the water where we could tag her.

 

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Once pup weaned, Dr. Sprague conducted outreach at the local Lāna‘i schools, sharing photos and video of mom and pup. With the aid of Hawaiian cultural advisor, the kids selected four nicknames for the pup. These names were then presented at a community event and the entire island commuity voted on a the seal’s nickname.

R00K’s nickname is `Imikai. It translates to English as “ocean seeker.” Seems quite appropriate for a Hawaiian monk seal and, especially, an offspring of the widely traveled RB00.

The Pūlama Lānaʻi Department of Natural Resources kindly provided us with these many photographic images and video of mom and pup.

*RH58 “Rocky” made national headlines last summer when she gave birth to a pup nicknamed “Kaimana” on a beach in Waikiki.

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