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Hawaiian Monk Seal Gives Birth to 14th Pup

July 11, 2022, 3:05 PM HST
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Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries

A Hawaiian monk seal has given birth to its 14th pup over the weekend on Oʻahu.

Kauai-born seal RH58, also known as Rocky, gave birth on July 9 at Kaimana Beach in Waikīkī. NOAA Fisheries and its response partner Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response are monitoring the mother and pup. Officials expect the pair will remain in the Kaimana Beach area for approximately 5 to 7 weeks while the pup nurses.

“We ask that people please give the pair plenty of space to avoid disturbing them. We want to ensure RH58 remains with her pup, and the pup gets the nutrition it needs to develop properly,” NOAA officials stated.

NOAA Fisheries recommends giving Hawaiian monk seal mothers and pups at least 150 feet of space on land and in the water.

NOAA states mother seals can be very protective of their young and are more likely to exhibit territorial behavior with a pup. Beachgoers are advised to stay behind any fencing or signs and listen carefully to the instructions of officials on site.

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“Monk seals can move especially fast in the water. Be sure to give them extra space and be alert when you’re in the water,” NOAA stated.

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At 22 years old, Kauaʻi-born RH58 is a veteran mom. The seal first swam to Oʻahu at 3 years old and soon after became an Oʻahu regular, only returning to Kauaʻi to pup.

RH58 has given birth to almost all of her 14 pups on Kauaʻi, with the exception of now two pups in Waikīkī. In June 2017, RH58 was the first seal known to give birth on Kaimana Beach. That pup, RJ58, is also known as Kaimana.

Rocky is one of the older females currently pupping in the main Hawaiian Islands. Female Hawaiian monk seals can pup into their mid- to late- 20s, and possibly even older.

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