HONOLULU (KHON2) — On Thursday, April 14, the fifth Hawaiian monk seal pup was born on Oahu for 2022, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

Lesley Macpherson of the DLNR Division of State Parks witnessed and recorded veteran monk seal mother, also known as RN58, give birth to PO5 on a North Shore beach.

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She said she saw that the mom looked like she was ready to give birth on Saturday, April 9, and continued to watch her for the next couple of days.

On the afternoon of April 14, Macpherson noticed the monk seal began to have contractions. Then, at around 2:30 p.m., she and two volunteers witnessed PO5’s breached birth.

“So many people are passionate about protecting monk seals and it was exciting to witness the birth of PO5 and to be able share it with others. My hope is that when people see these images, they’ll too become passionate about protecting all our creatures.” 

Lesley Macpherson of the DLNR Division of State Parks

By Friday, April 15, the monk seal pup was regularly nursing and had already been in the water.

“It’s really important, especially during rearing and weaning, that people respect the boundaries set up to protect these seal pairs and to keep their dogs on leashes at all times,” explained Ryan Jenkinson, Protected Species Program Lead for the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources.

According to DLNR, PO5 was not the first Hawaiian monk seal pup born around April 14. RH92, a new monk seal mother, gave birth to her first-born around the same time.

DLNR also added that in early 2022, three other pups were born on Oahu but died due to undetermined causes.

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For the next five to six weeks, the DLNR, NOAA Fisheries and Hawaii Marine Animal Response will actively monitor the Hawaiian monk seal moms and pups.