Conservation Update on 2013 Weaned Pup Translocation from French Frigate Shoals to Laysan Island

April 28, 2014

In ongoing efforts to increase survival of female seals, six weaned pups were translocated 360 miles from French Frigate Shoals (FFS) to Laysan Island onboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette in September 2013. This was the second consecutive year female weaned pups were directly translocated from FFS to Laysan, where recent yearling survival rates were relatively higher than at FFS. Each seal received a full health assessment and was instrumented with a satellite tag prior to translocation. Post-release the pups were visually monitored for the next 8 days, and then monitored via satellite tags after the monk seal field team disbanded the camp on Laysan. Satellite tracking data confirms that at least 5 of the 6 pups survived through 2013. The sixth seal may still be alive, but its satellite tag may no longer be transmitting due to tag/battery failure. Everything looks good with our young females and they have progressively been venturing further and further away from Laysan as they learn to forage. We will know more about how all the seals are faring when we deploy our summer field camps on our June/July Northwestern Hawaiian Islands cruise. More information on our 2014 research and recovery activities will be coming soon!

Hawaiian monk seals translocated to Laysan Island.
Hawaiian monk seals translocated to Laysan Island.