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Monk Seal of the Month Archive »
To the casual beachgoer in Hawaiʻi, one Hawaiian monk seal can look just like the next. What appears to be a male monk seal could be a female, and a “mother and baby” pair may actually be a juvenile and newly weaned pup tumbling in the shore break.
On June 29, 2017, a well-known female Hawaiian monk seal named Rocky (RH58) created a huge sensation when she gave birth to the first pup ever recorded on Waikīkī Beach!
There are tales of a sleek gray sea "dog" with one eye that traverses the rugged coastlines of Ni‘ihau in search of ocean treasures. A crafty soul that appears suddenly from the depths and disappears just as silently and quickly. Runku the one-eyed is one to watch for.
As a young adult, he began aggressively harassing and/or injuring pups and was brought into permanent captivity in 2012 to help improve the survival of the immature seals.
The monk seal of the month for August is TT40, an adult male who was born on Laysan Island in 1984.
A long-time resident of O‘ahu whose life was saved after she was seriously injured and nearly starved due to a fishery interaction.
One of the first known monk seal moms in the main Hawaiian Islands. First seal known to give birth at Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i and matriarch of a long line of seals born at Kalaupapa. Grandmother of the youngest known monk seal to give birth, RI15, who had her first pup at 4 years of age.
Among the seals in the Hawaiian Islands, Ewa Girl has the most wanderlust. That is, she has traveled the furthest and, in the process, expanded the monk seal pupping range to Hawai‘i Island.
Petunia was the first monk seal born on O‘ahu in modern times. Born on the "ides of March" in 1991 on the North Shore, she was 24-years old when seen last in 2015. Shortly after her birth, severe flooding from a heavy rain storm washed her out to sea. But thanks to round-the-clock monitoring of this notable first-born, rescue teams were able to reunite Petunia with her mother. What a lucky pup!
People often ask how long monk seals can live, and despite that we've been studying this species for more than three decades, we still don't know the answer to this question. Since the early 1980s, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program has been tagging newly weaned pups and following them throughout their lives. Y377 turned 32 years old in 2016, making her, to our knowledge, the oldest wild seal based on tagging data.