Featured Image Credit: Honolulu Civil Beat
It was an exciting day for the seal community! An endangered Hawaiian monk seal gave birth to a pup this past week on a Waikiki beach in Hawaii. It is the first seal to be born in the densely populated tourist district since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began tracking seal populations in the 1970s.
The mother, Rocky, has lived on and around Oahu since 2002 but returned to her birthplace on Kauai to have her own pup. She gave birth on Kaimana, an area in Waikiki highly populated with Honolulu residents. This was a unique spot for Rocky to pick because monk seals usually give birth in a quiet setting.
Monk seal pups usually nurse for about five to seven weeks and the mothers are very protective of them during this time span. Therefore, officials are asking people to respect the seals’ space. Even from a distance, there have been sightings of the pup dipping its flippers in shallow waters and swimming.
This newborn Hawaiian monk seal is a huge step in the right direction for the species as there are only about 1,400 in the wild. It is the first newborn in the last several decades and locals were lucky enough to see the little guy’s introduction to the world up close. A video of one of the seals giving birth was even captured and has gotten lots of attention.
These little mammals need our help in preserving their species and expanding their population. It’s a comforting feeling to see new life among our endangered species.