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Archive for the ‘RK42’ Category

[One day late. Apologies.]

RK42
Now has a bleach mark: V42. This will make her easy to identify from a distance. Also, she’s still hanging around her natal beach–one that happens to be popular as a somewhat off-leash dog park. So, please leash your dogs, and if you get a chance to kindly request someone else to do the same, that would be great. If there is any kind of dog-seal interaction, please call the hotline at 808-651-7668.IMG_3740.JPG

Here’s another view of RK42, looking as charismatic as any charismatic megafauna and one reason why many people fall for these monk seals. She’s also been seen hanging around other juvenile seals, as is typical for this age.

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PK2
We have another pup. (By the way, it’s looking like a record may be broken this year for the highest number of pups born in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Pretty exciting. And good news, especially coming after last week’s report of three deaths due to toxoplasmosis.)

Meet PK2, born to our ever reliable, survivor RK30, on her favorite remote pupping beach along Napali Coast. Pup was born on or before June 18. Any guesses as to gender? (Scroll down to third photo.)

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RN02
This five-year-old male was translocated from Big Island to Niihau in 2013 after he repeatedly interacted aggressively with swimmers. Shortly after arriving at Niihau, he swam across the channel and has since been regularly sighted on Kauai’s South Shore, sometimes cruising among swimmers, as he’s been doing this summer. With the increased number of beachgoers due to typical summer visitor season and closure of beaches on the North Shore, this can turn into a rather chaotic scene. (Remember, please do not engage with monk seals, especially in the water, for human safety, as well as, the long-term safety of the monk seal. Let’s keep wild seals wild.) In addition to swimming among snorkelers, RN02 has been observed calling to other resting seals and giving them a good nudge when they don’t respond to his vocalizations. (Maybe he needs to be reminded to, “Let sleeping seals lie.”)

Here’s a sample of a few days in the life of RN02. One recent afternoon, a report was made to the hotline that a monk seal was in a hole. Turns out, RN02 had decided to investigate a rather deep pit that had been dug by children (who had already departed). RN02 stayed there for, at least, three hours. The next day–a windy day–he was, finally, sleeping quietly when a beach umbrella hit him in the head. That was enough to get him to head for the water. The day after that, he was seen agitating a resting R7AA, and the day after that, he coaxed RG22 off the¬†beach to roll around in the shallows together.

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Sightings:

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.

New:

  • 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.

Updates:

  • 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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Last week, PK1 became RK42. She now sports a set of red tags in her rear flippers. The left tag reads K42 and the right tag reads K43. At the same time she was flipper-tagged, morphometric measurements were taken. RK42’s axillary girth (circumference of body just below her fore flippers) came in at 100cm while her length from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail was 126cm.

In other pup news, here is the final report of the necropsy (animal autopsy) of RK52’s pup that was found dead on a North Shore beach on April 24th:

  • The pup’s total length (104.5cm) indicated that it was a full-term pup, and was not premature.
  • Histopathology confirmed the pup as stillborn – in other words, there was no air inflating the lungs and this indicates that it never took a breath of air outside the mother’s uterus.
  • There was also evidence of mild fetal distress (cells and amniotic fluid that were aspirated into the lung tissue) leading to hypoxia (lack of oxygenation of vital tissues). While not severe, this does lead us to conclude that the pup died in utero and likely due to dystocia, or difficulty in the birthing process.
  • Histopathology did not identify any evidence of underlying disease.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon finding, especially for first-time moms like RK52. The hopeful news is that females who lose their first pup in this manner often go on to have healthy pups in subsequent years. The other thing this event reveals is that RK52 is fertile and able to carry a pup to full-term.

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