Cove on the North Shore of Oahu where the Hawai'ian Monk Seal choose to give birth to her sweet little female pup.
Notice the orange plastic fence in the distance. Put up by NOAA volunteers, they fenced off the area so mama and pup wouldn't be disturbed. Volunteers as well as Turtle Bay Resort Grounds-Guards watched over Momma and baby for 6 weeks.
On June 1, Hawai'ian monk seal R5AY gave birth to a seal pup at a North Shore location, the first seal born on Oahu in a public area since 1998. The two were basking in the sun yesterday.
Officials try to insulate a rare nursing scene
By Nelson Daranciang
A Hawai'ian monk seal who gave birth to a pup on Kauai last year is now mother to the first pup born on
Oahu in eight years.
R5AY, an adult female Hawai'ian monk seal that frequents Hauula, gave birth on a remote North Shore beach, probably on June 1, said David Schofield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries marine mammal response coordinator.
NOAA officials placed a barrier around the nursing pair to prevent people from getting within 150 feet.
Volunteers monitor their behavior and educate whoever passes by about the monk seal's endangered status
and efforts to protect it.
Oahu Hawai'ian Monk Seal Response Team volunteer, Karen Rohter, a fifth- and sixth-grade math and science teacher at St. Andrew's Priory. She has committed to a shift every Friday from 8 a.m. to noon until the pup weans and the mother leaves. Rohter plans to share her experience with her students.
The mother and pup spend most of the day sleeping on the beach. They nurse three times a day. Rohter
said one of the pup's endearing behaviors is that it mimics everything its mothers does. When the mother rolls
over on its back, so does the pup.
But when they go into the water for a swim, the pup sometimes wanders off. When that happens, the
mother brings the pup in line. "She kind of herds the pup if the pup gets into deep water over by the rocks".
When R5AY was first spotted on Kauai in 2002, she was already an adult. She gave birth at about this time
last year on Kauai, said Erin Moreland, NOAA Fisheries Main Hawai'ian Islands Monk Seal Sighting
Moreland said that pup survived and has been spotted on Kauai.
The last Hawai'ian monk seal birth on Oahu was a set of twins in Ko Olina in 1998. They died during birth.
Single pups were born to three different mothers on Manana Island, also known as Rabbit Island, in 2003,
2004 and 2005. All pups have survived.
The Hawai'ian monk seal population is estimated at about 1,200.