Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘TT40’ Category

Field Report: January 2012

A juvenile male seal (2-3 years old, about 200 pounds) was found dead on the northeast shore of Kauai on the evening of January 3, 2012. The seal was untagged, and believed to be a seal that volunteers have observed before. NOAA, DLNR/DAR and DoCARE responded on the scene.  NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement was also engaged immediately, and is investigating this case.  The necropsy was conducted on the morning of January 4, and revealed that this was a suspicious death.  We cannot rule out foul play in this case.  Disclosing any additional information about this case could compromise the investigation.  Anyone having information related to any of the recent monk seal deaths should call 1-855-DLNR-TIP.  See our “News” section for details on the reward for more information.

Hawaiian monk seal RK13

Photo credit: Miyashiro

RK13 (adult female, skin lesions since 2008, blind left eye, recent shark bites and canal-resting behavior) is doing really well; she is healed up and moving normally!

Hawaiian monk seal RK54

Photo credit: Miyashiro.

RK54 (juvenile male, born at Larsen’s in 2011 to RK22) hauled out in the Aliomanu area on 1/11 with a large ulua hook in the left side of his mouth, with a trailing leader and fish head attached.  We had a successful de-hooking, and a great training/learning experience for staff and volunteers.   RK54 was observed on 1/21 with blood on his nose/muzzle.   Possibilities include that (1) he was hooked again on the nose and removed the hook himself, (2) he had an infection or illness causing him to bleed from the nose, or (3) some other injury occurred to the area.  He has since been observed by volunteers and DLNR staff; his appearance and behavior have returned to normal, but we are still monitoring him closely.  What a month for this little guy!

RK56 (juvenile male, too curious about humans last Fall) has been frequently seen over the past few weeks at Kalapaki Bay.  Observers note that he has not sought out any human interaction, and it has been endearing to see how the local folks who regularly picnic in the area have taken to protecting him.

Hawaiian monk seal TT40

Photo credit: Steciuk.

On 1/20, a memorial for male seal TT40 was led by one of Kauai’s kupuna at Maha’ulepu Beach, one of the seal’s regular haul-out locations.  It was a beautiful day.  The event was attended by several volunteers, NOAA staff, and a television film crew.   Kupuna  opened with a chant to clear the path for TT40, then the attendees spent some time individually remembering the interesting and enchanting seal that he was.  Kupuna shared another chant celebrating TT40’s long life, and all those

Hawaiian monk seal TT40

Photo credit: Steciuk.

present had the opportunity to return some of his ashes to the ocean. The members of the film crew, from ABC’s “Born to Explore”, were very respectful and grateful to be able to share part of TT40’s story with the world.  This segment was one of many; the show will also highlight research and response efforts to conserve the Hawaiian monk seal.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A Hui Hou TT40

It saddens us to report that our oldest seal, TT40, passed away sometime between the evening of 11/10 and 0500 on 11/12.  TT40 was at least 27 years old, and provided amazing learning experiences for veterinarians, researchers, response staff and volunteers alike throughout his life. It’s likely that we have him to thank for quite a few of the younger generation of seals around here, too.  TT40 originated from Laysan island in the NWHI, and has been on Kauai since the mid-1990s.  In 2004, he swallowed a large hook and was transported to Oahu for successful surgery to remove the hook.  He lived through four sets of flipper tags!  He was a favorite of many.  TT40 has been showing his age for quite some time – you may recall that his molt started but never finished at the beginning of this year.    He was spotted by a fisher in the wee hours of the morning.

TT40

Special thanks to all of the volunteers and members of the public who helped to carry TT40 from the beach.  Thanks to our whole necropsy team too – our veterinarian, PIFSC scientist, PIRO response coordinators, and volunteers!  Finally, thanks to everyone who helped take care of TT40 throughout his long life.

We have not determined TT40’s cause of death, but it appeared to be a result of his age.  We may learn more from the pathology results.   He will be cremated and returned to the ocean.

Read Full Post »

Happy Summer from the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui!

Hawaiian monk seal and marine debris

Photo credit: Mary Werthwine

On June 13, juvenile male seal RA36 was reported with a decaying water bottle stuck to his face!  Luckily, the bottle was open at both ends, so RA36 could breathe, but he could not eat or use his whiskers.  Our team mobilized immediately to try to remove the bottle, and RA36 ended up dislodging it himself by knocking his head on our rescue equipment and causing the bottle to pop off!

June brought the PIFSC Monk Seal Research team to Kauai!  Their goals were to apply flipper tags to our newly weaned pups, to apply cell phone tags to more seals, and to conduct health assessments on a couple seals of concern.  They succeeded on all fronts!

Hawaiian monk seal on the beach

Photo credit: Lloyd Miyashiro

Our first 2011 Kauai pup’s new permanent ID number is RK54.  His brand-new tags read K54 and K55.  The second pup is female RK52, with tags reading K52 and K53.  RK52 is plumper than RK54, and is seen here exploring her own Seal Protection Zone!  When the weaned pups received their tags, they were also measured and given pit tags (like your pets’ microchips.)

Adult male RK36, with flipper tags 4DI/4DJ, was fitted with a cell phone tag.   We use the cell phone tags to monitor habitat use, dives and foraging behavior!

The PIFSC team got to take a good look at our aging male seal TT40.  While his advanced age seems to be causing his body’s normal processes (like molting) to slow down, our vets and scientists agree that he looks great for his age.

We also assessed the health of subadult female RB24, who has been observed to be losing body condition (i.e., getting thinner).  The cause of her weight loss has not yet been determined, but results of her blood samples, tissue samples and de-worming medication should help us learn more.

At the end of June, we rode out to Miloli’i to flipper-tag our third Kauai pup of the year.  This little male’s permanent number is RK56, and his tags say K56 and K57.  Special thanks to PIFSC and DLNR’s Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation for making this tagging trip possible!

Read Full Post »

Field Notes: March 2011

Happy Spring, from the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui!

Out in the field this month, we’ve been watching out for our newest addition, Temp V15.  She is a juvenile female who was first seen on Kauai at the end of February.  She can be identified by her small size and her bleach mark, “V15”.  She was seen frequently at Mahau’lepu throughout March and observed for remarkable weight loss.  She has not been sighted since March 23, so she is a seal of concern. If you see her, please call our hotline at 651-7668, and take lots of pictures!

We continue to keep a close eye on our oldest male, TT40.  He can be identified by his flipper tags, which read 5AH (right flipper) and 2AQ (left flipper).  He has been slowly molting throughout March.  Instead of exhibiting the typical behavior of hauling out for 5-7 consecutive days to complete his molt, TT40 has been moving regularly between Shipwrecks and Salt Ponds beaches while molting.

RK14. (Photo credit: Sterling.)

New and unusual observations for this month include the resighting of a seal not seen since 2006!  RK14 is an adult female that regularly hauls out on the north shore, particularly at the rocky inaccessible cove of Kilauea Point.  She is unusual because she only has three teats, instead of the regular four (thus she was once called “triple nipple”)!  RK14 also has a bleach mark on her head and a black scar on the left side of her face.

For a funny story, we received a late call from the police department when visitors came home to their vacation rental at Lawai Road and found a seal in their swimming pool!  Fortunately for R6FQ, it was an easy exit over surrounding lava rocks from the salt water pool.  This little juvenile seal who found “a super-sized tide pool” was abruptly scared away by the alarmed visitors!

Another Lawai sighting for many days was RK12, affectionately known as “Maha’ulepu mom,” who often hauls out on the small beach there.  This month, though, she was reported and observed by many floating or resting for long hours in the shallow waters off shore.  She was checked as best as possible for wounds, but nothing was found, and after five days of this behavior, she left on the 29th.  Please keep an eye out for her, as she has not been resighted and we are still concerned about her condition, since this extended “logging” behavior is unusual.

V28. (Photo credit: Langley)

We are sorry to report that we lost our aging male seal Temp V28 this month.  When seals pass away, it makes for some of our most difficult workdays here for  the Hui.  However, these are usually also incredible learning experiences.  Such is the case with Temp V28.  He first appeared on Kauai last summer, exhibiting a nonfunctional eye and other signs of age, but excellent body condition (weight.)  He continued to look healthy throughout winter, but suffered a neck injury that coincided with his yearly molt at the end of February this year.  He rapidly lost weight, and was closely monitored by our Kauai team and our regional veterinary and science teams.  He seemed to improve for a few days, but unfortunately died on March 25.   Veterinarians and scientists immediately came together to conduct a necropsy, which is an exam designed to learn as much as possible from an animal’s death.   We found many signs of age in Temp V28, and we also found some identifying marks!  Using x-rays, we located a pit tag (microchip), which had been implanted in Temp V28’s pelvic region.  We also noted scars on the webbing of his rear flippers that indicate he once had flipper tags!   Scanning the pit tag, we were able to identify this seal as TK49, a 26-year old seal from Laysan, one of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands!   He was last identified in 1994 on the Big Island!   Temp V28 (or TK49) was a very interesting seal; he hauled out in unusual locations around the island, and allowed for education and outreach to a number of local communities who don’t see seals very often!

K30. (Photo credit: Lee)

Keeping the circle of life going are our pregnant female seals.  RK30, R316, and RK22 are all looking quite pregnant – hopefully we have healthy pups in our near future!  Pup events are a great time to learn about seals and get started as a volunteer.  If you are interested in pup-sitting, or volunteering with us in general, see our “Volunteer” tab for more information.

Read Full Post »

RT12 has his Hawaiian name!  He is Kimo Kai, or “Sleepy Ocean”, named by (and after) vacationing volunteer Jim Maser when RT12 was just a couple of weeks old.   After checking with our Hawaiian cultural practitioners, we have now made it official!

Mahalo-eha (RA36) has been spotted back at his natal beach, Maha’ulepu!

Hawaiian monk seals

Photo credit: Michele Bane

Love is in the air for Kauai’s seals!  We have seen lots of male-female pairs hauled out, entering, and exiting the water together lately.  Some of these included large adult female RK13 with Oahu/Kauai male RO18; scarred female RK30 with our old, dominant male TT40, seven-time mom RK12 with young adult male R4DI, and Oahu male Kermit (RO12) with an unidentified female.   Even little juvenile Kaikoa (RA00) has been seen several times with subadult male RV18, though this pair is too young to mate!

Kermit (RO12), as mentioned above, has returned to Kauai.  But check out what he was doing this summer!!  He had a 2000-mile journey into the pelagic (open-ocean) realm!

Hawaiian monk seal journey

Back on the east shore of Kauai, Kermit lost his cell-phone tag. Thanks to one of our observant and thorough volunteers finding the tag in the sand, we can now learn more about Kermit’s adventure and reuse his tag to track another seal!

Read Full Post »