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Mother Monk Seal Births Pup in Waikīkī for the Second Time

April 14, 2023

RK96 (Kaiwi) has given birth to a pup at Kaimana Beach, Oʻahu. Give the pair at least 150 feet of space as they nurse in the area for the next 5–7 weeks. 

Mother seal with new born pup (in black) resting on a busy beach on a sunny day. Hawaiian monk seal RK96 (Kaiwi) and her newborn pup. Credit: Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response

It’s official! Hawaiian monk seal RK96, also known as Kaiwi, gave birth to a pup at Kaimana Beach in Waikīkī, O‘ahu, on April 14. 

Our partner Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response has roped off an area of the beach to serve as a seal nursery. A collaborative team of NOAA and HMAR will have team members on the beach every day to provide information about the mom and pup. We are also working closely with state and local partners, including Ocean Safety, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the City and County of Honolulu to ensure coordinated support for the seals. DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement will be conducting periodic checks at Kaimana Beach throughout the nursing period.

We strongly recommend using any of the other numerous nearby beach locations for swimming and other ocean recreation activities. Mother seals can be very protective of their young and may bite if they view you as a threat.

If you are in an area where a mother seal and pup are present—for your safety and the seals’ well-being—please:

  • Keep at least 150 feet of space between you and the seals, both on land and in the water
  • Stay behind any fencing or signs
  • Follow the instructions of officials and personnel on site

This is an important time for the pair, and we want to ensure RK96 remains with her pup, and the pup gets the nutrition it needs to develop properly. We expect they will remain together in the Kaimana Beach area for approximately 5 to 7 weeks while the pup nurses.

More About Kaiwi

This pup is the fifth born to 12-year-old RK96. She previously gave birth to male RP96 (Lōliʻi) in 2021, female RM26 (Nohea) in 2020, male RK24 (Wawamalu) in 2018, and female RH36 (Kawena) in 2016. This newborn pup and Lōliʻi are the only two pups Kaiwi birthed at Kaimana Beach. She had all of the others along the Kaiwi coastline, Oʻahu, where she was born.

Kaiwi is the second seal known to give birth on Kaimana Beach. RH58 (Rocky) was the first to pup in Waikīkī in 2017. 

An Endangered Species

Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species, with fewer than 1,600 individuals left. They are native to Hawaiʻi and are found nowhere else in the world. If you encounter a Hawaiian monk seal, we ask that you keep a distance of at least 50 feet (150 feet for mothers with pups), keep dogs on a leash, and call the NOAA Fisheries Marine Wildlife Hotline at 888-256-9840 to report seal sightings.

Stay tuned to our Hawaiian Monk Seal Updates page for future updates on the pair!

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on April 17, 2023