Good news on the monk seal front: The pup born on November 20, 2008 on Kauai’s south shore is a girl. This is good news, because with the dwindling rate of Hawaiian Monk Seals throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, the more females we have, the more babies we’ll have. The truth is we just don’t need as many males as females. (Now, don’t go applying that to the human race. I know I wouldn’t get very far without my husband to make me a new bookcase for the stack of books beside my desk.)
Our little girl has been a precocious pup. She’s constantly bugging a thinning mom to nurse or go for a swim. Here, she is pestering mom to nurse while swimming. And if she doesn’t get her way, she let’s mom know.
Now that she’s almost five weeks old, she and mom are using a wide swath of the beach. They don’t always disembark where they embark. We volunteers run up and down the beach, hauling stakes, signs and fencing and erecting new barriers, if need be, to protect our girl from dogs and beachwalkers, because once the two settle down on the beach, they oftentimes look just like a hunk of lava rock. If there weren’t signs and ropes and fence, you might simply stumble upon a sleeping seal. I’ve seen it happen before.
At this stage of the game, it’s vitally important that the youngster doesn’t try to pal around with we humans. That can lead to problems. Last week, the Honolulu Advertiser wrote about just such a wildlife management issue on Maui.