Whatever Happened to Kolohe the Monk Seal?

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Whatever Happened to Kolohe the Monk Seal?

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Kauai
Jul 11, 2012

A couple months ago, one rascally Hawaiian monk seal appeared on a Kauai beach with extra baggage. That is, a giant ulua hook. The fish hook had lodged deep in the monk seal's throat and veterinarians decided the wily buggah wouldn’t take kindly to them digging in his throat to remove it. So, they flew him to Oahu to perform the procedure in a controlled environment. He spent nearly two weeks there but was eventually flown back to Kauai and released on a south shore beach.

I witnessed his release and wrote about it. It was fabulous to see the big guy return home. It was gratifying to see him galumph out of his cage, swim a couple laps in front of us in the shallows and swim out to sea. But for the next few days and weeks, I pondered his fate. How was he doing? Where was he going?

That’s what this picture shows us. Kolohe (RK36) sported some high-tech gear on his back when he swam off into the sunset that day. He's been cruising the south shore of Kauai, and he's visited Niihau. His typical dives were 300 feet or shallower. Then, on July 1st, he spent more than 24 hours yo-yo diving to 1000 feet, over and over, at one-and-a-half to two miles off shore. The net result: He’s doing great, behaving just like a seal. Good boy, Kolohe.


Heather George | Jul 12, 2012 04:48 AM

Nice to hear the follow up on him, thank you! And great map!

Tracey Hartmann | Jul 12, 2012 04:41 AM

So glad to hear Kolohe is doing well. Love the photo showing where he has been!

Kim | Jul 14, 2012 03:10 PM

I love these maps, too, published by the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. You can find them on Facebook where they periodically post maps like these about Kolohe, as well as other seals. Sometimes, they create a video of hundreds of such maps, so you can see a day by day review of a seal's travels. Now, that's cool.

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