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Archive for the ‘RKA6’ Category

Field Report: May 2020

Monthly Update: The Kauai team logged 147 seal sightings this month. This included 31 individually identified seals.

May: 147
April: 117
March: 200
February: 264
January: 319
December: 180
November: 223
October: 258
September: 203
August: 324
July: 239
June: 179
May: 262

New Issues

·       RKA6, a 2 year-old female, was found dead along the coast of the south shore. The carcass was severely decomposed, however a flipper tag was present. An examination found all organs liquefied and of little scientific valued. Following COVID-19 protocols, the seal was buried on site. Cause of death determination was not possible due to severe carcass decomposition, however no obvious signs of injury or illness were observed. The seal was in good body condition at the time of death.

·       Adult female R1KY appears pregnant and was observed logging in shallow water on two occasions. Her behavior appeared lethargic and odd, allowing wave wash to roll her around in an unusual manner. Two sightings since have found her acting normal, and she is still large and likely to pup soon.

·       Adult female RF30 was reported with a possible small j-hook in the upper lip. After further assessment and photographs, it appeared to either be a very small hook, which is of little concern, or simply organic matter stuck in her vibrissae.   

·       Received a report of two loose pit bulls on Moloaa Beach at the same time as a hauled-out seal. DOCARE was notified, but unable to respond. The Kauai Humane Society knew of these dogs and have captured them in the past. The seal and dogs were all gone by the time NOAA arrived. There was no evidence or tracks in the sand of dogs attacking or chasing a seal. The Humane Society will be contacting the dog’s owner.

Updates:

·       Due to COVID-19 stay-at-home measures, our new methods of monitoring continue, which include:

o   Weekly surveys conducted by NOAA and DLNR

o   DAR staff conducting weekly island wide Creel Surveys

o   PMRF staff continuing to send in routine reports and photos

o   Requesting that people who call the hotline to report seals assist us by sending several photos and setting-up SRA signs or sticks.

·       The juvenile pup, PK1, continues to be resighted at her birth beach and is in good health.

Volunteers:

·       The volunteer program continues to be on hold due to COVID-19. No volunteers were sent out in the field, however we continue to communicate with volunteers by email, the weekly blog, and by phone.

Research/Support of Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (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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We are sad to report that the two-year female seal known as RKA6 was found dead this past weekend in a remote location on Kauai. Unfortunately, a necropsy and cause of death determination was not possible due to the seal’s advanced state of decomposition, however there were no obvious signs of illness or injury. Following CDC, NOAA, and state COVID-19  guidelines, the seal was buried on site.

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PC: G. Langley

RKA6 was born on Kauai on June 30, 2018 to the well known mother R028. She was the 4th pup born in 2018, and therefore known as PK4 until flipper tagged KA6 and KA7 after 39 days of nursing. She was also involved in a brief mother-pup switch and spent the day with another female until reunited with her mother.

After weaning she remained near her birth beach for the first 6 months of life. At 4 months old she was observed with a small fishing hook in her mouth, but she was able to throw the hook on her own without intervention. At 9 months old she was hooked again, this time with a large circle hook. The Kauai team successfully removed the hook and she fully recovered.

Sightings of her over the next year became very sparse, only being sighted 5 times total in 2019 and not at all in 2020, however on those few occasions she was in good body condition and looked healthy.

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PC: G. Langley

Where she disappeared to is anyone’s guess, but this is not unusual. For example, a seal on Molokai was presumed dead after disappearing soon after weaning and not re-sighted for several years. Then this year she surprisingly returned to her birth beach and gave birth to her own healthy pup. It’s a good reminder that Hawaiian monk seals are wild animals with unpredictable and mysterious lives.

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Field Report: March

Monthly Update:
The Kauai team logged 350 seal sightings in March. This included 38 individually identified seals.

March: 350
Feb: 303
Jan: 284
Dec: 153
Nov: 145
Oct: 203
Sep: 199

New:

  • Yearling female RKA6 was de-hooked by the Kauai team and immediately released. The hook was a large circle hook with 5 m of heavy monofilament trailing. The seal has fully recovered.

Updates:

  • Adult female RB00 weaned her pup after 54 days of nursing. He was tagged as RL08 in April.
  • RK58 was reared at Ke Kai Ola from August 4, 2018 until released on Feb 13, 2019 after a 3 day soft-release. The seal has remained in the release area, has shown no signs of interest in humans, and is interacting normally with other seals in the area. He also molted this month and lost his satellite tag. He was only 8 months old when he molted, which is unusual as the first molt is usually between 12-16 months of age.
  • Displacements: No seals were displaced from the keiki pool. However, adult female RK90 began hauling out at and spending the nights at a beach that’s considered unsafe due to trucks driving on the beach. Therefore, RK90 was displaced (with the proper NOAA approvals and staff) off the beach at sunset five times, twice along with adult male RK05. RK90 continues to return to this beach several times per week but has begun foraging at night again, eliminating the need for further displacement. Close monitoring of this beach continues.
  • Bleach markings: 3 were applied this month.
  • Molting: 2 seals 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.

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Field Report: October

Monthly Update: The Kauai team reported 27 individually identified seals in October for a grand total of 203 seal sightings reported to the hotline.

October: 203
September: 199
August: 295
July: 414
June: 315
May: 332
April: 302
March: 299

New:

  • Female weanling RKA6 was sighted with a hook in her mouth along with 6-8 inches of monofilament line trailing. By the time response staff arrived, she had thrown the hook on her own.

Updates:

  • RK58 remains at Ke Kai Ola for rehabilitation, gaining weight and learning to free-feed.
  • Adult female Temp 337 who was previously reported with mobbing wounds continues to heal and is sighted occasionally on the West Side.
  • Several public reports indicate the unidentified mom/pup pair along Napali Coast are doing well. By now, pup has weaned.
  • Poipu Keiki Pool: No displacements this month.
  • Bleach markings: 1 bleach mark was applied.
  • Molting: 2 seals molted at busy beaches this month.

Research/Support of Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (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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Monthly Update:
The Kauai team reported 33 individually identified seals in August for a grand total of 295 seal sightings this month. This equates to 9.5 seals sighted and reported each day.

August: 295
July: 414
June: 315
May: 332
April: 302
March: 299

New

  • A pup switch occurred for the first time on 7/20/18. RH58’s pup PK5 was forcefully taken by another mother RO28 who left her female pup PK4 alone on the beach. The Kauai team successfully reunited the correct moms with pups later that day. Another pup switch occurred on 8/2/18 when RH58’s pup PK5 was seen with another mother RK28 who had left her male pup PK3. Again, RH58 was alone but searching and calling for her pup. The Kauai team attempted to reunite the correct mothers to pups on 8/3/18. RK28 quickly took her pup PK3 back, however, RH58 rejected her pup and became aggressive toward him. The pup was left on the beach overnight in hopes that RH58 would reunite naturally. On 8/4/18, RH58’s pup PK5 was again found with RO28 at sunrise. RO28’s pup PK4 was nearby and began calling for her mother, who quickly left PK5 and rejoined PK4 without human interference. A final attempt at re-uniting PK5 with his mother RH58 occurred that morning of 8/4/18, however she continued to be aggressive toward the pup. The Kauai team captured PK5 (now permanent ID of RK58) mid-day on 8/4/18 and transported him to Lihue for USCG C130 transport to Ke Kai Ola for rehab.
  • Three seal pups weaned and were flipper tagged in August.
  • New adult male seal R8HD hauled out on Kauai after being flipper tagged on Molokai earlier this year. It was suspected this seal had been previously tagged, so the Kauai team was asked to scan the seal for a PIT tag, without disturbing the seal. A full scan was performed, no PIT tag was detected.

Updates:

  • The first pup of the year, now weanling RK42, was de-hooked by the Kauai team on 7/28/18. A large j-hook with 5’ of 100 lb test monofilament leader with swivel attached was removed from the right side of the seals mouth. The pup has not been resighted since de-hooking.
  • Bleach markings: No bleaches were applied.
  • Morbillivirus vaccinations: The North Shore pups RKA4 and RKA6 were fully vaccinated against morbillivirus.

Research/Support of PIFSC

  • Sub-sampled scat, molt, and tissue plug samples accordingly.

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Another girl! Because RK30 gave birth in such a remote location, it wasn’t until a boat dropped off a crew to tag RK30’s pup that the pup’s gender was officially confirmed. Her tags are KA2/KA3, so her permanent ID is RKA2. You might be able to identify her by her natural bleach mark on her head. It’ll be interesting to see, however, whether she retains that identifier as she ages and her coat changes color.

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PK4 was also tagged last week. (She was born to RO28.) Her tags are tags KA6/KA7, so her permanent identification is RKA6 .

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