Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2-29-2012 A CALL TO ACTION!

I received this email yesterday and rather than rewriting, I am posting it as it. The email is from Marjorie Ziegler, from the Conservation Council for Hawaii .  Please act on this, it's important we speak for the Hawaiian monk seals...  Thank you for anything you can do.

Aloha, everyone. Please submit testimony to the state House Water, Land, and Ocean Resources Committee and House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee opposing state resolutions HR 20 and HCR 38, both of which oppose proposed critical habitat designation by NOAA under the federal Endangered Species Act for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal on the main Hawaiian islands (see CCH talking points below).

Both resolutions will be heard by House Committees on Water, Land, and Ocean Affairs and Energy and Environmental Protection this Friday, March 2, 2012 at 11:05 am in conference room 325. To view the hearing notice, resolutions, and status, go to . To submit testimony, go to

As you know, there is a lot of misinformation about critical habitat, opposition to critical habitat designation and other recovery actions needed to prevent our seal from going extinct, and hostility toward this animal. Quite frankly, I have never witnessed such hostility towards a native Hawaiian animal in all my years working on wildlife issues here. This is your chance to speak out for the monk seal and show support for conserving this precious endemic Hawaiian species. Elected officials are hearing from people who oppose critical habitat and other recovery actions for the seal. They also need to hear from folks who love and support the seal.

Please take a few minutes and submit brief testimony opposing these resolutions. Apologies for duplicate postings. Mahalo nui loa.

What: HCR 38 and HR 20 Opposing the passage of rule 064B-BA81 Proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency
Introduced by: Rep. Jerry Chang, Sharon Har, and Cynthia Thielen
Hearing: Friday, March 2, 2012 11:05 am conference room 325 Hawai’i State Capitol
CCH Position: Strongly oppose HCR 38 and HR 20

CCH Talking Points
  • I support critical habitat designation around the main Hawaiian islands because it will help protect the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
  • The Hawaiian monk seal population is declining rapidly and will likely go extinct if we do not take action to help it survive.
  • The Hawaiian monk seal is part of our cultural and natural heritage. It is found only in the Hawaiian islands, and it is part of the legacy we leave for children and generations to come.
  • Critical habitat is a tool that can help agencies, organizations, and individuals who are working hard to prevent the Hawaiian monk seal from going extinct.
  • Critical habitat prevents federal agencies from taking, funding, or approving actions that will destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. If a federal action destroys or adversely modifies critical habitat, that action will probably also destroy marine ecosystems, fishing, gathering, and ocean recreation.
  • Critical habitat is defined under the federal Endangered Species Act as: (1) specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing, if they contain physical or biological features essential to conservation, and those features may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species if the agency determines that the area itself is essential for conservation.
  • Although critical habitat has been designated on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the monk seal population is declining due to high pup-mortality and other factors that have nothing to do with critical habitat designation.
  • Critical habitat designation on the NWHI is not the cause of the declining monk seal population there.
  • Similarly, designation of critical habitat around the main Hawaiian islands will not automatically recover the seal and bring it back from the brink of extinction.
  • Critical habitat will prevent federal agency actions from destroying or adversely modifying those areas.
  • Critical habitat is part of the federal Endangered Species Act; it makes sense that federal agencies cannot destroy or adversely modify the habitat necessary for the Hawaiian monk seal to recover.
  • Areas can be excluded from critical habitat if the economic benefit of excluding such areas outweigh the benefits unless excluding such areas may result in the extinction of the species.
  • Let us work together to protect this magnificent species.
  • We urge everyone to help recover the monk seal instead of blaming seals for declining fish stocks (not true) and alleging that critical habitat will prevent all ocean uses (not true).
  • Someday, we may all realize the value of critical habitat, not only for the seals, but for everyone who uses and enjoys the marine environment.

2-29-2012 DB's Dailies

At 0639 I found Irma (R010) waiting for me at the left side of Hanauma Bay, on the beach. I cordoned her off, and she remained the rest of the day. She was still there when I picked up the stuff when HB closed at 1800.

I'm sorry to report that Irma has sustained a superficial shark bite on her right side, posterior, just above the ankles. Tracy concurred that it was in fact a shark bite. I saw the left side and found nothing, but I was
 unable to see her ventral side, so as to see a matching pattern. She appears to be in no distress.

I spent hours and hours trying to ID a juvenile male at the left end of Rabbit Island. I stayed until 1700, but never got the ID. All I can state as fact is a juvenile male belly, with 2 red tags. My guess is either Duke or Kolohe, but I cannot prove either. Hopefully, tomorrow will answer the mystery.

At 1124 posse member Linda called to report a mostly submerged animal in the tide pool at Irma's Grotto. When we arrived it proved to be Rocky....again. She had not been there on my morning check. Linda called again at 1751 to advise that Rocky had departed of her own volition.

The Billands called to advise that Vera Cober had reported Pohaku (RO28) at KoOlina. Vera's excellent photos confirm the ID.
Team Billand had one of their usual action packed days, with a large cast, once again.
At 0838 they found R018 at Maili Point.
At 1436 they reported that Noa (R6FI) had also shown up at Maili Point.
At 1557 they found M&M (R020) at Tracks.
Kermit (R012) was their last find , near the first bunker on the west side of the Nimitz Jetty.

 Oh Irma !  That's a close call!  I don't even what to think about it. All I can think, is these seals must have the ability to haul a$$ when the sharks is just about chomp down.
 New markers for Irma
 Rocky had so much fun yesterday, she came back for more 
 RO28 @ KoOlina

2-29-2012 Team Billand

Noa @ Maili Point
 such a sweet face
 M+M @ Tracks
 Chunky flipper... ( is that a new mark?)
 R018 @ Maili Point
 Kermit @ Nimitz

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2-28-2012 DB's Dailies: Irma@BH, Kaiwi@SC, Rocky@KK, Benny@Makaha, R018&Noa@Maili Point, Kermit@WP, RO28@Sec. Bch

Man, these last coupla' days have just gotten curiouser and curiouser. You'll see what I mean has my tale unfolds. To begin with I did a whole lota' looking and no findin' on my morning route. Finally, at 1017 posse member Gayle called to say "there is an animal at Eternity Beach, and it's not Kaiwi". Naturally, I hot footed it over there, alas the animal was no longer there. Gayle explained what she had seen. Apparently, the adult sized animal had swum into the inlet and came to the spot where Kaiwi had been yesterday, took a look around, found nobody, and left.

As Gayle was telling me that story I looked to the left and saw an animal foraging off the point at Blowhole. After several rounds of dives I finally determined that , just as yesterday, it was Irma (R010), doing 8 minute dives. Of course my science buddies are stuck in the "just da' facts" rut, and can't allow the two things to connect. Thankfully the Whisperer code must simply follow the DUH ????? requirment. Of course, it was Irma.... It would appear as though she was looking to see if Kaiwi was there, which then says that she must have been aware of Kaiwi's presence yesterday. DUH ????
Speaking of the lovely miss Kaiwi, just about the time I was confirming the Irma ID, posse member Kathy called (1031) to advise that she had Kaiwi (RK96) at Spitting Cave. Gayle and I naturally raced right over. When we arrived at 1111 the Kaiwi ID was confirmed. She was doing 6 minute dives.

I departed SC at a bit after 1200, and was working my way back to RI, when posse member Linda Nichols called at 1220, with the report of an animal lolling in the tide pool at Irma's Grotto ! Crap...... Irma is at Blowhole.... did I screw up....AGAIN ? When we got there at 1237 to my surprise there was Rocky (RH58) snoozin' in the tide pool at Irma's Grotto. She appeared to be blowing bubbles when breathing, but I don't believe that for a moment. I think she saw the dumbfounded look on my face, and they were bubbles of chortling laughter.

Team Billand checked in at 1000 with the report of Benny (RE74) at Makaha Beach.

At 1056 they found R018 at Maili Point.

Kermit (R012) was their next find, at 1133, fronting #1944, White Plains.

At 1422 the Billands found Noa (R6FI), 60 ft away from R018 at Maili Point. Team Billand was busy today.... at least a couple of the seals cooperated by hanging out together.

Team Billand next reported M&M (R020) and R2AW together at Tracks.

At 1655 the Billands reported Pohaku (R028) at Secret Beach, KoOlina.

Posse member Teri called at 1727 to advise of no Kaiwi, but another large animal at Spitting Cave. Posse member Zeeny later advised that Rocky was no longer at Kokee. Photos are inconclusive, but my dollar is on Rocky as the evening SC forager.

Irma @ Blowhole
 Kaiwi @ Spitting Cave
 Nice shot of the kid yapping out in the ocean
 Rocky @ Kokee Flats 
 Thank you Rocky rockystar for listening and NOT going to Waikiki
 I don't know what's funnier Rocky blowing bubbles... or her size looking like a giant flat rock
 2AW @ Tracks
 2AW and M+M @ Tracks
 So happy together !

 Gorgeous Noa @ Maili
 R018 hanging out at Maili with Noa
 Benny @ Makaha
 Kermit at White Plains ( I think he should have a cottage named after him)
 RO28 @ Secret Beach

2-27-2012 DB's Dailies: U/U @ RI, Rocky@DH, T15M@WP, Kaiwi@Eternity Beach, Irma@BH

There was lots of huntin' by the elves and I , but by end of day the only critter seen was on my 2nd look at Rabbit Island at 1210. There I found an U/U, adult sized animal, with a new coat, 80 ft left of 1BS, down near the water line. It would depart at 1238, and was not seen again. It was , in all probability, Mojo, but ???????
When I wrote the above paragraph I THOUGHT it was the end of day. Nope....

At 1612 I got a call from Team Billand , advising that they had just gotten a call from Fire Department dispatch about an animal at Eternity Beach, which is the cove on the town side of the Blowhole Lookout. Why on earth the FD called the Billands is an oddity. 
When I arrived at 1620 sure enough, for the very first time in my career I found an animal down there on the water front rocks. It was KAIWI (RK96) !! A northern European tourist had called 911. Kaiwi would depart of her own volition at 1637 because she was getting worked by the rising tide. I lost her in the choppy conditions and did not see her again.

When I'd initially arrived I'd seen an animal foraging of the Blowhole Lookout. It would prove to be Irma (R010) doing 12 minute dives.

The Fire Department call oddity happened again at 1837. Once again the Billands called me to advise the FD dispatch had called them about an animal at Sandy Beach. I responded immediately, but darkness was near. I checked all of Sandy Beach, including Kaiwi Kove, twice, and then checked Irma's just in case. I found nobody, and called it quits in total darkness at 1930. The caller may well have reported Irma at Blowhole and mentioned Sandy Beach ???????????

Team Billand checked in at 0852 with the report of T15M, fronting #1707, White Plains.

At 0946 Dera called with the report of an animal at Beach Road, Diamond Head. Colleen confirmed the Rocky (RH58) ID 

 Rocky @ home at Diamond Head... and listen up missy.... you just swim right past Waikiki... don't be hauling out in the middle of the crowds during the day!
 Irma do you know where your kid is?
 Here she is at Eternity Beach
  Who does she think she is Debra Kerr?
 And back to reality .... T15M returns to white plains
 I bet my bottom dollar, Team Billand was thrilled to see him back
 I think he returned because he knows he's being taken care of... look at this face!
 Thank you team Billand