Kaimana, the monk seal to be relocated to remote Oahu beach
To move, or not to move? The state said that question was asked the first day the pup was born on the beach fronting the New Ohtani Kaimana Hotel.
HONOLULU - To move, or not to move? The state said that question was asked the first day the pup was born on the beach fronting the New Ohtani Kaimana Hotel. It was either move her somewhere else, or somehow close the beach which the city legally can't really do.
"We do not have a way or will to tell people they cannot go into the water here. This is a heavily used area. Traditionally, this is an area for everybody to dive and fish. You can see all the activity, and in the best interest of the pup. We want to minimize the interaction,” said Jim Howe, the city’s Director of Emergency Medical Services.
When the crumbling salt water pool at Waikiki Natatorium became an attractive nuisance, not once, but three times, it very quickly became clear that having Kaimana grow up here, was not a good idea.
"We got real concerned when the seal got into the Natatorium," said Howe.
"The seal's probably coming and going out of a large pipe that was designed to flush out the pool. It could be closed but that won't solve the problem," said Bruce Anderson, head of the state’s Aquatic Resources Division.
The move to a more remote area on Oahu will happen as soon as Kaimana is weaned, which could be in a day or so.
"They are very impressionable, and learning about how to be a monk seal. If the only thing they see are people they are going to be conditioned we want to take the seal to a place where they can watch and learn and be monk seal," National Marine Fisheries Coordinator David Schofield.
The last thing scientists want is for it to become like a pet. Experience has shown that at this young age, monk seals are pretty adaptable
Scientists say even without the threat of a protective mother seal, the idea of hundreds of people taking part in the upcoming Waikiki Roughwater Swim and Dad Center canoe race would not be a good mix.
"Just having all those people around with a baby seal who is trying to figure what life is all about won't be a good mix either," said Schofield.
National Marine Fisheries staff plan to vaccinate the pup and implant a tag and a transmitter to be able to track Kaimana's development and movement. The state is asking also for Kokua from fishermen. Please consider using barbless hooks, and please, check your fishing nets often.
"They cannot be left attended for 30 minutes or more. There have been several drownings of monk seals. So, we ask members of the public to report any lay gill nets they see in the water unattended, or derelict. We want to make sure the ocean is safe for monk seals, turtles, and wildlife," said State Land Director Suzanne Case.
For the past 40 days, the seal has been the star of San Succi beach. It's been a real opportunity for people to learn the dos and don’ts of being around this endangered species.
But consider this. No one knows for sure if Rocky will decide to have another baby on this beach next year.