Archive for the ‘RL28’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Welcome KP3.

The well known female RK28 gave birth to the third Kauai pup of the year last Thursday. This pup will be known as KP3 until it is eventually flipper tagged. This is RK28’s fourth consecutive year to pup in the same location at a remote beach on the north shore. Her previous pups are:

  • 2018: RKA4 – male
  • 2019: RL28 – female
  • 2020: RM28 – female

RK28 is the mother who lost her two-week old pup in a 2014 dog attack. We suspect she pupped elsewhere for a few years after this incident before returning to Kauai in 2018 to resume pupping.

Similar to the previous pup events in 2020 and 2021, our pup monitoring efforts will be curtailed due to COVID-19, however we are still hoping to conduct daily monitoring checks that focus on adjusting signs, assessing the health of the pair, and taking photos. Outreach to beach users is not the objective, and fortunately the location is remote with just a few people on the beach day. Those interested in assisting with the daily checks should call 808-651-7668. 

These rules may change as DLNR adjusts volunteer protocols due to the current spike in COVID cases.

PC: M. Olry
PC: M. Olry
PC: M. Olry

RK58 Sighting.

Finally, after four-and-a-half months, subadult male seal RK58 was re-sighted! Earlier this year, K58 spent six weeks at Ke Kai Ola, the Monk Seal Hospital, on Hawaii Island due to injuries sustained in a suspected dog attack that resulted in significant weight loss and infected puncture wounds. After treatment, K58 was flown back to Kauai, released on March 26, and not known to have been seen since. That is, until August 11th when a visitor–George–saw K58 and took this photo. George went home, checked out our website, saw the history of K58, and realized he had made a very important discovery: K58 is alive and well. Thanks, George! And thank goodness for readable field tags on those rear flippers!

PC: G. Egbert

Read Full Post »

Monk Seal Monday #113: RL28 Update

At long last, RL28 has been re-sighted, and she looks great–big and healthy.

RL28 was born to one of our regular “puppers” RK28 on July 19, 2019. She was observed often during her nursing days and after, including a few times in January and early February of this year. However, she hadn’t been re-sighted–and reported–since February 13, 2020.

It’s not unusual for Hawaiian monk seals to seemingly disappear for months on end. But it’s always good to get eyes on them every now and then to know they’re alive and well. That’s why reports to the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui hotline (808-651-7668) are always helpful.

Photos like these are helpful, too, showing views from each side, rear flippers (with tags, if possible) and head-on. The use of a telephoto lens is super helpful, and allow program coordinators to 1) identify the seal (based on scars if there are no flipper tags); and 2) spot any evidence of entanglements, such as a fish hooks. In this case, RL28 is looking great.

Photo credit: J. Thomton.

Read Full Post »

The Kauai team logged 203 seal sightings this month. This included 31 individually identified seals.

September: 203
August: 324
July: 239
June: 179
May: 262
April: 348
March: 350
Feb: 303
Jan: 284


  • A second pup was born at a remote beach along Na Pali Coast. The ID of the mother is unknown, but likely the same Niihau female that has pupped on that beach the past two Septembers, R400. Tour boats and kayak companies are providing updates.


  • Sub-adult female R7AA was seen with small lump under left jaw line on 8/31/19, possibly a small abscess. The seal has not been re-sighted since. The plan is to closely monitor.
  • RH58 (Rocky) successfully weaned her female pup, PK5. The pup was flipper-tagged and vaccinated and now has an ID of RL58.
  • RK30 successfully weaned her female pup, PK6. The pup was flipper-tagged, and the seal’s ID is now RL30.
  • RH38, the seal rehabbed at Ke Kai Ola and released in July, continues to thrive on the north shore.
  • The first three 2019 pups (RL08, RL52, and RL28) continue to be sighted in good condition at various north and east shore beaches.
  • Displacements: No seals were displaced this month.
  • Molting: Four seals were observed molting this month.
  • Vaccinations: PK4 and PK5 were vaccinated during pup tagging and received booster vaccinations three weeks later.
  • Bleach marking: One seal was bleach marked this month.

Research/Support of Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center:

  • 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.

Read Full Post »

Monk Seal Monday #68: Meet RL28

After 40 days of nursing, RK28 weaned her pup (a female) early last week. By week’s end, PK4 officially became RL28. (Interesting side note: RL28’s left flipper tag is RL28; however, because there wasn’t an RL29 tag, her right flipper tag is RL33.)

RL28 measured 134.5 centimeters from the tip of her nose to the tip of her small tail. She measured 117 centimeters around (girth), taken just below her fore flippers.

Here are pictures of her looking nice and healthy the day before receiving her flipper tags.


PC: J. Thomton


PC: J. Thomton


PC: J. Thomton

And here are pictures of her enjoying a two-hour swim–where she was witnessed picking up, possibly, a sea cucumber–just prior to receiving her flipper tags.


PC: M. Olry


PC: M. Olry

Meanwhile, mom, RK28, has been spotted at various beaches on the north shore. Beachgoers have reported her, concerned about health and confused about her scars. They think they’re recent wounds. They are not. Several years ago, RK28 turned up with fresh wounds on her back that were determined to be the result of adult male aggression. You’ll find more about this threat to Hawaiian monk seal survival here. RK28’s condition will continue to be monitored, especially in this time right after weaning when it’s important that she recover her weight loss. This photo was taken over the weekend.


PC: Galasso

This is an older photo from 2016 shortly after RK28’s injuries.


PC: Sterling

Read Full Post »