Weaned Hawaiian Monk Seal pup needs space and safe surroundings

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Oahu’s second Hawaiian monk seal pup this year, PO2 “Nohea” (meaning lovely), has been recently weaned and is resting along the Kaiwi Shoreline.

Now that her mother RK96 “Kaiwi” has left the pup, the Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) needs help from the community to make sure Nohea stays safe, wild, and develops properly.

As an endangered species, Hawaiian monk seal pups face many threats.

Nohea is in an area where vehicles often drive off-road, and she can be hard to see when she is hauled out on the sand. Driving on the beach is not permitted in this area. HMAR is putting up signs, rope and cones around Nohea but she may move outside of the coned-off areas.

Additionally, seal pups are especially curious, and Nohea may approach people in the water or on land so please do not interact with this pup or any other Hawaiian monk seal.

Attempting to play, swim, or otherwise interact with a monk seal alters its natural behavior and ability to fend for itself in the wild. Getting too accustomed to humans can hurt their chances of survival.

To promote healthy coexistence, be an ocean steward for Nohea by not approaching, touching, swimming, feeding, or otherwise engaging with her on water or land.

Courtesy: HMAR

Keep a respectful distance of at least 50 feet away from the seal, and stay outside of areas denoted by signs, ropes or cones.

If you are approached by Nohea or any other seal, move away without interacting. Please do not feed or discard any bait or scraps into the water, Nohea must learn to find food for herself.

Pets, especially dogs, post a significant risk to monk seals. Always keep your dog on a leash to avoid injury or disease transmission.

The seal pup has not developed the understanding or weariness of dogs, and it’s essential for pet owners to be responsible for the safety of both animals. Interactions between dogs and monk seals is dangerous to both animals.

As a reminder, it is against federal and state laws to disturb a Hawaiian monk seal. Harming a monk seal by a vehicle or other means is also punishable. Responsible wildlife viewing supports this endangered population.

To report wildlife emergencies, including monk seal sightings, please call the NOAA/HMAR hotline at 888-256-9840.


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