Saturday, May 31, 2014

5/30/2014 Lesley's Ka'ena Point Trek

Marilyn & I did the KPt hike & monitoring today.

As we approached Hidden Beach,Marilyn,that was a little ahead of me, did the sign that there's one seal. From far we saw a weird shape/design on it's back, light? sand? wet? a bleach mark !!! It was RN58 "Luana", she looked so long and big there.

There was a couple camping on the beach, I did some outreach with one them because they had a dog (on a leash, tied to the tent). 

On our way back they were no longer there but in their place there was a group spending the day. More outreach was done.

At the point RO40 "Ka'ena" was hauled out at the entrance of his pool and did a roll or two for us.

As it was still early, we decided to hang around for a while to see if other seals would show up. We walked around the center part of the point saw several Albatross chicks, all fledging as our "Doc" (the one we've been monitoring from the arrival of the parents, nesting, egg,etc.). I even adventured a little dip @ Back Beach.   
Aloha,  Lesley 

 couple of dudes having trouble coming in.... hopefully there wasn't any damage to the reef!

5/30/2014 Lesley's Windward TBR Trek

I had a meeting in Hau'Ula for the NSOF this morning so I did the monitoring of Windward side and TBR on my way in and back.

From Kualoa Ranch to Hanaka’ilio Beach (2nd Beach/Marconi Rd), including Malaekahana BP I searched for R5AY but she was no where to be seen.

RL54 "Kaikaina" was the only seal I saw today. She was hauled out in the middle of some beach rocks @ Kaihalulu Beach (Elbow Beach /TBR). 

I had some fun monitoring today with visitors and local families already on holidays. We watched "Kaikaina" toss & turn in the sun, do some face scratching and a couple of sneezes for the kids delight. She moved down to the water to cool off a little, turned around and galumphed back to her original spot.
Jeannie Martinson called this evening on her way to work to say she had seen a seal from the car @ Sunset (towards Mothers Beach). There was no one around and it had the beach for itself - unfortunately we'll wrap the day with an U/U.  Aloha,  Lesley


5-30-2014 DB's Dailies: Pua,M38&Kainoa@RI, U/U@SC, Buster@WP, Haupu@KoOlina, RK22,PK1,Pohaku&PK2@ Kauai

Despite being on the road a 0600 , it would be 0805 before the first critter entered my life. Gayle called at 0805 to report an U/U at Spitting Cave. When I arrived at 0830 I joined Gayle watching what continued to be an U/U doing 8-10 minute dives at SC. It appeared to be an medium sized animal with 2 red tags, and no visible markers. Though I got a decent tag shot, there proved to be nothing visible on the tag. The animal had some algae build up below the eyes, and also around the fore flippers, and at the ankles and hind flippers. It remained an U/U. I went back for an afternoon check at 1258, but the animal was gone. Maybe tomorrow ??????

 On my 2nd look at Rabbit Island at 1018 I found what would prove to be Kainoa (RN04)& M38 40 feet right of 3BS.

 At 1028 I found a newly hauled out Pua (RF34) fronting 1BS on RI.

 At 0749 Team Billand advised that Buster (RV08) was at White Plains , lolling at the water line fronting the Snack Shack. An uncaring surfer walked right to him despite the Billand’s pleas, and ran him off.

Buster would haul out further down the beach fronting #1707, at 0800.

 At 1130 the Billands advised that they’d gotten a call about an U/U at Lagoon#2 at KoOlina.

At 1022 they confirmed the Haupu (RB24) ID. They would depart her departure at 1410.

 Much Mahalos to Gary Lange on Kauai for his shots of Mom RK22 & Pup PKI, and Pohaku (RO28)& Pup PK2 at a secret spot . Val advised last night that RK30 has now pupped at the same location.

 Holy pup party.... How amazing is this.... Would love to get more info on how their interactions went... playful? aggressive? a little of both?  Mom's going back and forth and kids having a ball?
 u/u at spitting cave 
 Buster at white plains
 selfish surfer ... karma going to get you.... watch yourself
 you tell him Buster ... I stutter
 Haupu at KoOlina

Friday, May 30, 2014

5/29/2014 DB's Dailies: Pua@RI, Buster@WP, Ka'ena & Kerby

On my 2nd look at Rabbit Island I found Pua newly hauled out to the left end rock flats at 0933 . On my afternoon check it was still just Pua and a few zillion of his bird buddies on RI. I will spare you my crappy “shiny rock” shots of Pua, from 8/10th of a mile away.

 Pua was to be the only SE quadrant critter today. Despite thorough coverage by both Gayle and I, no others were found.

 At 0717 Team Billands reported Buster (RV08) lolling at the water line at White Plains. He would eventually haul out between #1707 & 1708. When the Billands got back to WP at 1450 Buster was gone.

 The Billands called with the report of an animal at the Makaha Cabanas. Volunteer Debbie responded but found nobody on arrival.

 Vera Cober did the trek to the end of the world and at 1257 reported having seen Ka’ena (RO40) at the 20 minute mark on the Waiane side trail. She also found Kerby (RW08) in a pool on the Mokuleia side of the point.

 tail in the air

5/29/2014 Lesley's Ka'ena Point Trek

Kimo Lyman and I made it to Ka'ena Pt @ 5:30PM yesterday.
It was very hard to look for seals due to the late afternoon sun glare off the ocean.

There were no seals around, the tide was very high and the south swell was hitting Back Beach.

As we were leaving, Kimo spotted a seal coming in the Main Pool channel. The U/U seal came in, checked the pool, turned around and left. We tried to follow it around for a while but lost it in the glare after a dive.

I can rule out RO40 "Ka'ena" since the back was visible and there was no scar on it's back, RR70 "Rip" cause there was no N1 bleach. My guess is RW08 "Kerby" due to the behavior being the same he has shown the last couple of times we observed him out there.

Before we hiked to the point we checked birth Beach /Mokuleia, RN58 "Luana" was hauled out near the waterline in a very deep sleep.

Non seal info: Little chick  albatross "Doc" showed off his new white feathers, he's growing fast but still not ready to fly. Several adult albatrosses were flying all around as well as several Shearwaters.

On our way in we noticed that several Caper buds were nearly ready to pop at the base of "Leina"; on our way back we counted 6 very fragrant flowers in bloom.   Aloha,  Lesley

 RN58 Luana

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5/28/2014 Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program's Update on Temp 401

The following post appeared on the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program's facebook page. I am re-posting here on the blog since Temp 401 has been discussed on the blog and I am sure many of our followers have had some questions.... Personally I was happy to see this as it's the story behind the story. I also know the HMSRP team of professionals take their jobs very seriously and individually they do care very much about the well being of our beloved monk seals. 

Aloha All (long post today). On May 15, our team was working on Rabbit Island, Oahu and came across a young unidentified female seal that had a nasty wound (likely from a shark, on her head). First thing the following morning we sent our vet out to look at the animal and assess what needed to be done. The decision was to leave the seal in the wild, monitor, and if things didn't improve we would then intervene. The seal has since moved to Kaena Pt where she is muh more visible to the public. There have been a couple of queries as to "what has to happen to a seal in order for NOAA to do "something" about it". It is a valid question, but the undertones are unfair. There is not a single group of people that does more for monk seal recovery than the HMSRP. Combined, we have over 200 years of monk seal experience and work to understand and save seals across the Archipelago. So, while sometimes members of the public may not understand why decisions are made, we ask that you don't rush to judgement and think we are failing to act. In fact, if we are not taking action it is more than likely it is because we have decided the best course of action is NO ACTION.

So back to the seal in question. Our wonderful vet drafted the following response to a concerned citizen and we thought it would be good background information for all of you to better understand our thought process. It is important to mention that this is a good example of the importance of volunteers and other observers reporting seal sightings to allows us to monitor the welfare of these seals. And we greatly appreciate the dedication and help.

"Aloha --
It sounds like Temp 401 has been hanging around Ka'ena Pt lately and I wanted to take a moment to let you know about our assessment and approach to her current state.

The injuries were first observed on May 15. I was able to visually observe her early on May 16 from the water. The wounds were probably already about 2 weeks old at that time and demonstrated appropriate healing and showed no sign of infection. The wound was too wide to be surgically treatable. She was in good nutritional condition, appeared hydrated and was exhibiting normal behavior. She was alert and very responsive. Therefore, we could determine that these wounds were unlikely to be life-threatening and that there was little (if any) benefit to bringing her into rehabilitation.

Since then, thanks to all of you, we know that she has been swimming, diving (presumably foraging) and moving around the island normally. I am greatly encouraged by the healing progress documented in photos sent to NOAA on May 26-27. The wounds are likely several weeks old at this point and I cannot see any evidence of complications. You can see that the tissue is pink, which means it is healthy. The swelling is greatly reduced compared to May 15. The damaged eye is being reabsorbed and there appears to be adequate flushing and drainage - this is good because it reduces the chance that an infection will be able to set up within the damaged tissues. Compared to several weeks ago, the wound has already closed a great deal. New tissue is regenerating over the injured area rapidly. She will never be able to see out of her right eye, but we know (and have recent first hand evidence with R1KU!) that seals can do quite well in the wild with only one eye.

A visit to the hospital is also stressful for seals, and we weigh this option very carefully. Rehabilitation is not a panacea. At this time, we do not think it is an appropriate course of action for Temp 401 because she continues to demonstrate that she is doing all the right things to heal in the wild. We will re-evaluate this if there is a sign that the wounds are failing to heal or that she is behaving sickly.

We know that wild animals, particularly marine mammals, have a remarkable healing capacity. Temp 401 is certainly showing us that she does. Shark bites are an unfortunate but very real part of life for wild seals. If beachgoers happen to see her, you can feel free to explain that, reassure them that she is being monitored, and that what she needs most is clean salt water, rest and time to heal. It's just one more reason for all to keep a respectful distance.

While Temp 401's injuries appear ugly and painful, we have seen monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (and other species throughout the world) recover from far more severe attacks, even without human aid. It truly is amazing.

Thank you for your help in monitoring her progress. Please let us know if you notice a change in her behavior (lethargic, not entering the water, logging in one place consistently, not responsive, dull). Also, feel free to reach out if you have additional questions.

All best,

5-29-2014 DB's Dailies: M38,Aukai,Pua & Kainoa@ RI, Kaiwi @ KK, Buster@WP&KCG, RIP@Maili Pt, Kekoa @ RR

On my 2nd look at Rabbit Island at 0900 I found M38 & Aukai (RL12) together on the water front rocks at Seal Rock Inlet. They remained there all day.

 On a pan at 0913 I found Pua (RF34) just hauling out fronting 1BS.

 Posse member Linda Nichols called at 1103 with the report of an animal at the Kokee Flats. When Melanie and I arrived at 1130 we found Kaiwi (RK96) at Irma’s Grotto , Kokee Flats. She would depart with the rising tide at 1303, per Linda.

 When I got back to the pier at 1238 I found Kainoa (RN04) just hauling out fronting 3BS on RI.

 At 0646 Team Billand called to advise that they were watching Buster (RV08) doing a “drive by” through White Plains, heading west. He did a couple of brief haul out checks lookin’ for chicks but continued on. They lost him. They would later get a call from WP lifeguards reporting 2 animals at Kalaeloa Campgrounds at 1042. When they arrived they found only Buster.

 At 0917 the Billands found what would later prove to be RIP (RR70) at Maili Point. He was foraging, doing 6-7 minute dives.

 At 1022 Dana called the Billands with the report of 2 animals at Paradise Cove. When the Billands arrived they found nobody.

 At 1413 the Billands advised that Eileen had called with the report of Kekoa (RK72) at the Reef Runway.

 Rip swim by at Maili