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Archive for the ‘RM36’ Category

Monk Seal Monday #170: Meet RQ52

Early last week, R400 weaned PK2 after 38 days of nursing. Because PK2 was born on a beach that sees heavy truck traffic, as well as, off-shore boat traffic (where she would be learning to swim on her own), it was decided to translocate PK2 to a safer beach elsewhere on the island–one with other monk seals present and an off-shore reef, providing her with a lovely lagoon in which to nose around and learn how to be a monk seal.

Prior to translocating, PK2 was tagged and is now, officially, RQ52–wearing a red tag with Q52 in the webbing on her left rear flipper and Q53 in the webbing on her right rear flipper. Her measurements were good for a healthy Hawaiian monk seal weaner in the Main Hawaiian Islands–133 centimeters long and 121 centimeters around below the fore flippers. She also received her first vaccination to protect her from morbillivirus and will be boostered in three weeks.

The translocation went smoothly with RQ52 sleeping in her transport carrier on a cool evening with some rain as the team drove through Kapaa. She was released about 50 yards from RQ60, who is about month older. Within a couple minutes, they found each and were left snorting and rolling around together on the beach.

By the next day, RQ60 had moved east down the coastline. Meanwhile, as recently weaned seals will do, RQ52 has approached other monk seals, attempting to nurse. In one case, adult male RN30 was not having it, nipping at her. She’s also been sighted hauled out near two-year-old RM36 and, on one occasion, a turtle.

RQ52 has also been spotted tossing around sea cucumbers. This is quite typical of newly-weaned pups as they decide what’s good to eat. Sea cucumbers are generally not something monk seals consume.

Volunteers are still needed to monitor these young Hawaiian monk seals. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please email kauaiseals@gmail.com or call 808-651-7668.

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Monk Seal Monday #165: Anouncing PK1

In the early morning hours of Thursday, May 26, a robust RB00 gave birth to Kauai’s first pup of the year on a remote North Shore beach.

PC: K. Rogers

Fifteen-year-old RB00 was born on Kauai but lives on Hawaii Island most of the year. For the past four consecutive years, she has returned to her natal island of Kauai to give birth to her own pups. Her previous Kauai pups are all thriving and include RL08, RM36, and RP32.

PK1 (Pup Kauai-1) has been out swimming for 30-45 minute sessions. RB00 is an attentive mother who keeps a close eye on her pup and methodically presents for nursing bouts. Males have been reported to make stop-by visits (RN30 has made several) and RB00 routinely responds with open-mouthed vocalizing.

More than 20 telephoto, close-up, ventral photographs taken from slightly different angles show PK1’s piko (navel) but no penile opening, indicating PK is female!

PC: J. Thomton

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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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Monk Seal Monday #141: Meet RP32.

Kauai’s first pup of 2021 was born on April 23rd. On September 10th, he received his official flipper tags–P32 on his left flipper and P33 on his right.

Thanks to regular reports by volunteers and interested beachgoers, we have a bit of a history of what the youngster’s been up to in recent months:

  • After weaning around June 16th, he hung around his natal beach for a few weeks.
  • Then, he started to explore coastlines south of his birth area.
  • On July 15th, he was bleach-marked “V1,” making it easier to identify him, though he also has a distinct natural bleach marks, too–white tip on his right fore-flipper and a big white spot on his right side. The combination of the three bleach marks made it easy to identify him.
  • On July 29th, P32 was found with an ulua hook in the corner of his mouth. Fortunately, it was superficial and he was able to free himself of the hook by August 5th.
  • Once RP20 was translocated to this same area, P32 was often seen interacting with his and pups from 2020, RM36 and RM58.
  • Starting August 29th, P32 went missing.
  • He reappeared on Sept. 10th and, at that time, he was outfitted with flipper tags. Now, he goes by the permanent identification of RP32.

PC: M. Olry and V. Poelzl.

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Field Report: April 2021

Update: The Kauai team logged 155 seal sightings this month. This included 31 individually identified seals.

  • April 155
  • March: 137
  • February: 119
  • January: 125
  • December: 119
  • November: 133
  • October: 152
  • September: 152
  • August: 198
  • July: 120
  • June: 81
  • May: 147
  • April: 117


New:

  • Flipper tagged a new yearling seal likely from Niihau. New ID is R2XW. 
  • Flipper tagged 2020 pup PK1 as RM36. 
  • RB00 pupped on north shore beach. Pup KP1 is thriving.
  • 3-year-old male R1NI washed ashore dead at west side. Carcass was fresh code 2, collected and frozen on Kauai, then shipped to Oahu for necropsy. 
  • Return of visitors with Kauai entering Safe Travels Program causing increased disturbance to seals at Poipu. More signs put at racks at Poipu beach park to manage SRA without ropes and volunteers deployed.

Updates:

  • Subadult male seal RK58 was returned from KKO after 6 weeks of rehab and released at on March 26. He was treated at KKO for likely dog attack injuries that resulted in significant weight loss and infected puncture wounds.
  • 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
    • 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: RM28 received the initial vaccine this month.

Volunteers: 

  • Volunteer program remains on hold due to COVID-19.

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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Monk Seal Monday: #126: Meet M36

Finally, last year’s first-born pup, who came into this world the day before a big storm on March 15 to RB00, was flipper-tagged M36 (left flipper) and M37 (right flipper). Seals typically receive their flipper-tags shortly after being weaned. At the same time, measurements are taken–length and girth. However, when M36 weaned after 45 days of nursing on the last day in April, COVID precautions prevented any seal handling. Until last week.

Last summer, M36 was bleach-marked “V00,” and the bleach is still visible on her side; only instead of bleached white, it’s green. In the next few weeks to couple months, M36 will experience her first catastrophic molt, in which over 10 days to two weeks, she’ll shed the top layer of her skin and fur. Seals spend such a great amount of time at sea that algae actually grows on their fur. Once she finishes molting, M36 will sport a new silvery coat.

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