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Archive for the ‘RK28’ Category

Field Report: October 2022


Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 277 seal sightings this month. This included 32 individually identified seals.

  • October: 277
  • September: 400
  • August: 320
  • July: 311
  • June: 283
  • May: 248
  • April: 294
  • March: 292
  • February: 233
  • January: 233
  • December: 267
  • November: 168
  • October: 229

New:

·       Five large dogs harassed and possibly bit an adult seal at Makua at Cannon’s surf break (near Tunnels surf break). It appeared one man brought all 5 dogs to the beach and allowed them to run off leash and did very little to stop them from harassing and chasing the seal off the beach. Photos were submitted of the dogs and owner, and sent to DOCARE and Humane Society for further action. All seals seen in the area since are in good health and show no signs of dog bite injuries.

Updates:

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

·       PK3 weaned from mother RK28 after 40 days of nursing. The pup was flipper tagged with Q78 and Q79 tags and vaccinated. His new ID is RQ78. The pup has remained in his natal area and is thriving.

Molting: 5 seals molted this past month.

Vaccination: Vaccinated weaned pup RQ78.

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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

New:

·       Nothing to report.

Updates:

·       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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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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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

New:

·       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.

Updates:

·       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.

Volunteers 

·       Trained 5 new volunteers

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

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Monk Seal Monday #172: Welcome PK3

Late last week, regular “pupper” RK28 gave birth to Kauai’s third pup of the year. Here’s a photo of RK28 and her pup hours after birth.

PC: J. Thomton

RK28 was first identified as an adult in 2003, so she’s easily a minimum of 23 years old. She’s birthed eight known pups, but there have likely been others, too. In 2008, RK28 pupped on Oahu. In 2013, she was documented with a pup on Niihau. In 2014, she pupped for the first known time on Kauai. Then, starting in 2018, she’s pupped every year here. So, she pups around.

When you get to be RK28’s age, you’ve experienced some things, and over the years, she’s made headlines in these digital pages.

In 2021, she ranked as out number one reported Hawaiian monk seal on Kauai, especially impressive because the number of days she spent with her pup last year were not included in the total. (Read more about that here.)

In 2018, RK28 was involved in a “pup-switching” event, in which pups from nearby mothers somehow get switched. In this case, there were three moms/pups on the same beach at the same time. After numerous switches, the result was RH58, also known as Rocky, started showing aggression toward her pup. After numerous attempts to re-unite her with her pup, he was taken and successfully reared on Hawaii Island at Ke Kai Ola. (Read more about that here and here.)

In 2016, RK28 was involved in a male mobbing incident that left her with significant scarring on her back. (Read more about that here.)

In 2014, sadly, RK28 was involved in a horrific dog attack that left her two-week-old pup dead. (Read more about that here.)

Luckily, RK28’s recent pups are known to still be hanging around Kauai. They include: RKA4, RL28, RM28, and RP28. This year, both RM28 and RP28 were involved in hooking events.

This year’s pup has already been identified as male. He’s on the thin side, so it’s good to see him nursing, as in this photo.

PC: K. Rogers
PC: K. Rogers

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Last week, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) reported the fifth Hawaiian monk seal pup born on Oahu this year. Lesley Macpherson of the DLNR Division of State Parks captured the birth on video.

DLNR also reported new mom RH92 gave birth to her first-born pup, PO4, on or around April 14. RH92 was born to RK22 in May 2016. Shortly after weaning, a fisherman witnessed a dog attack her. Luckily, the puncture wounds weren’t deep; however, she was given antibiotics to stave off any possible infection. Then, she started feeding off scraps at a boat harbor, so she was translocated to a remote beach elsewhere on the island. Except that she returned to the boat harbor within a couple weeks. Luckily, an outreach campaign and regular law enforcement patrols reduced the amount of fishing scraps, and RH92 left the immediate area, foraging more widely. In November 2018, at the young age of two-and-a-half, RH92 made the open-ocean crossing to Oahu where she has been regularly sighted ever since.

On Kauai, there are several females who have pupped on the island in recent years:

  • RB00: A recent regular “pupper” on Kauai, RB00’s due date is predicted to be May 1. She was born on Kauai but spends her days on/off Hawaii Island and typically rolls onto a Kauai beach on the north shore a day or two before giving birth.
  • R400, also a regular pupper on Kauai. She pupped at Polihale last year in mid-June.
  • The prolific RH58 took last year off and did not pup. At this point, she has not been confirmed to be pregnant.
  • RK22 last known pupping event was 2017. She’s rarely sighted, presumably spending her days at Niihau.
  • RK28, another traveler, she has not been sighted recently.
RB00

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One more recap for 2021. Here you’ll find the top ten Hawaiian monk seals “reported” on Kauai during 2021. “Reported” seals are those that were called in—and identified—to the Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui hotline. (See a monk seal on the beach? Report it to 808-651-7668.)

However, what’s not included in this list are pups born in 2021. That’s because regular “pup watches” by dedicated volunteers tend to skew pup “reported” numbers. And because moms spend the first four to six weeks of their pups’ lives right by their sides, they’re also not included in this list–at least, their time with their pups is not included. Because you’ll see our number one reported seal was RK28, a mom, and 105 of her reported sightings did not include days with her pup KP3.

So, here’s the Top Ten list for 2021:

  1. RK28 – 105 reports
  2. RM36 – 70 reports
  3. R2XW – 61 reports
  4. RM28 – 50 reports
  5. Temp606 – 42 reports
  6. R353 – 40 reports
  7. RG58 – 38 reports
  8. temp607 – 37 reports
  9. RL08 – 36 reports
  10. R1KY – 36 reports

This list is quite different from last year. To compare years, click here. To learn more about each of these seals, scroll down until you find their permanent ID number under the “categories” column on the right and click on their ID. That will return a list of all the previous mentions of them on this website.

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Field Report: September 2021

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 251 seal sightings this month. This included 30 individually identified seals.

  • September: 251
  • August: 213
  • July: 286
  • June: 218
  • May: 209
  • April: 155
  • March: 137
  • February: 119
  • January: 125
  • December: 119
  • November: 133
  • October: 152
  • September: 152

New:

  • Discovered another new yearling male seal near Kapaa. The seal is likely from Niihau and we hope to flipper tag him soon.
  • Off-leash dogs and irresponsible pet owners continue to disturb seals. Two large dogs were witnessed by the public harassing a large seal at Makua (also known as “Tunnels”). The seal was lunging and vocalizing at the dogs as the dogs continued to circle and bark at it. No physical contact was made. The owner was out snorkeling and did little to intervene once out of the water. DOCARE and the Humane Society were contacted. The Humane Society field officer said they will focus patrols in that area. Additional reports of off-leash dogs were received this month. 

Updates:

  • Adult female RK28 pupped on the north shore on August 10, 2021. The mother and pup (KP3) remained in the area until the pup weaned on October 2, 2021. The nursing period was 53 days. Flipper tagging and vaccination is scheduled for October.
  • The female pup RP20 born at Polihale and translocated to the north shore after weaning has remained in the release area; and has been sighted socializing with other juvenile seals regularly. 
  • Due to COVID-19 stay-at-home measures, our new methods of monitoring continue, which include:
    • Weekly surveys of key areas conducted by staff;
    • DAR staff conducting weekly island wide Creel Surveys;
    • PMRF staff continuing to send in routine reports and photos; and
    • Requesting that people who call the hotline to report seals assist us by sending several photos and setting-up SRA signs or sticks. 

Morbillivirus Vaccination: RP32 received her initial vaccine this month.

Molting: Four seals molted this month.

Volunteers:

  • The volunteer response program was restarted in a modified form in June after being on hold since March, 2020. Currently, volunteers are dispatched for hauled out monk seal reports to post signs, assess and ID the seal, collect routine data, and then depart the area. Outreach/education should be as minimal as possible to reduce COVID exposure risk. For busy locations, a spot check schedule will be established. This technique has proven effective and will continue until further notice.
  • The training of new volunteers has been on hold due to COVID Delta variant surging. Program information and follow-up emails sent to new recruits.

Research/Support of PIFSC:

  • Subsampled KP3 tissue plug for NOAA 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.

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Field Report: August 2021

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 213 seal sightings this month. This included 24 individually identified seals.

  • August: 213
  • July: 286
  • June: 218
  • May: 209
  • April: 155
  • March: 137
  • February: 119
  • January: 125
  • December: 119
  • November: 133
  • October: 152
  • September: 152
  • August: 198

New:

  • Adult female RK28 pupped at a remote beach on the north shore. The mother and pup (KP3) remain in the area and are thriving. A daily pup watch schedule has been established and pup zone set with numerous signs.
  • Displaced one seal, JF R2XW, from the Poipu Keiki pool as part of the Poipu seal management plan.  
  • Return of visitors continuing to cause increased disturbance to seals across the island. 

Updates:

  • The female pup RP20 born at Polihale and translocated elsewhere after weaning has remained in the release area; and has been sighted socializing with other juvenile seals on a daily basis.
  • 3-year-old male R1NI washed ashore dead at Palamas Beach on the south shore in April. Necropsy results are complete and no definitive cause of death has been determined. However, screenings for morbillivirus, toxoplasmosis, and other routinely screened pathogens were negative.
  • Subadult male seal RK58 was returned from KKO after 6 weeks of rehab and released on the north shore on March 26. He was treated at KKO for likely dog attack injuries that resulted in significant weight loss and infected puncture wounds. RK58 was finally resighted in August, on the east side of Kauai, and he is in good body condition.
  • Due to COVID-19 stay-at-home measures, our new methods of monitoring continue, which include:
    • Weekly surveys of key beaches conducted by Olry and Thomton.
    • DAR staff conducting weekly island wide Creel Surveys.
    • PMRF staff continuing to send in routine reports and photos.
    • Requesting that people who call the hotline to report seals assist us by sending several photos and setting-up SRA signs or sticks. 

Morbillivirus Vaccination: RP20 (KP2) received her booster vaccine this month.

Molting: 4 seals molted this month.

Volunteers:

  • The volunteer response program was restarted in June after being on hold since March, 2020. Currently, volunteers are dispatched for hauled out monk seal reports to post signs, assess and ID the seal, collect routine data, and then depart the area. Outreach/education should be as minimal as possible to reduce COVID exposure risk. For busy locations, a spot check schedule will be established. This technique has proven effective and will continue until further notice.
  • The training of new volunteers has been on hold due to COVID, Delta variant surging. Program information and followup emails sent to new recruits.

Research/Support of PIFSC:

  • Subsampled KP3 placenta for NOAA 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.

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