Collection of 2015 Pups for Rehabilitation

July 31, 2015
First 2015 seal patients for rehabilitation.
First 2015 seal patients for rehabilitation.

During the 2015 Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program field camp deployments to the NWHI in May and June via the NOAA ship Hiʻialakai, two undersized, newly weaned pups were discovered at Pearl and Hermes Reef. These tiny pups were collected on May 28th and became the first new patients for Ke Kai Ola this year. They are also the 7th and 8th seals to undergo rehabilitation at the monk seal hospital since its doors opened a year ago. At the time of collection, these pups were so young they still had black fur and had not completed their first molt yet, which typically occurs around weaning, and they weighed about 1/2 the normal weaning weight. Because these two pups were already weaned when discovered, it is unknown why they were so small. However, it is certain that they would have perished in the wild without intervention. It is encouraging that they began eating fish on their own after only 4 weeks in rehab, which is a positive sign for their recovery and eventual release into the wild in the NWHI.