NOAA says KP2 was abandoned by his
mother. The fact is he was taken from his mother when bairly a day
old. The previous year his sister was taken from his mother at
four days old and killed.
Important Video That Documents the Problems Associated With
NOAA's Management of Monk Seals
Watson, T. K. (2010) Ho'ailona and the Coming of the Seals,
Ho'oulu Lahui Aloha 159 (Video). Office of Hawaiian Affairs,
Honolulu. (online) http://www.oha.org/hla/HLA159/
of Hawaiian Affairs
Ho‘ailona and the Coming of the Seals Ho‘oulu Lahui Aloha 159
Taped on February 12, 2010 in the
‘Olelo Mapunapuna TV studios
Originally broadcast March 4, 2010 on Oceanic channel 53 at 7
Reverend David Kaupu
Walter Ritte, Hawaiian Activist
Loretta Ritte, Seal Advocate
Lono Hirakawa, Musician and Composer
Moderator: Trisha Kahaulani Watson, JD, PHD
The story behind KP2 in Moloka‘i
KP2 What really happened? And
perhaps more importantly what happened to his mom?
The general story line put out for public consumption is something
like this: KP2 was abandoned by his mother. Fortunately NOAA was
watching and picked him up to take care of him. He was
successfully raised at Kewalo Research Facility on Oahu.
After eight months of captivity he was released at Kalaupapa on
Molokai. After a few days he showed up at Kaunakakai Wharf and
found some new friends that weren’t seals.
KP2 Another interpretation of events and what really happened
based on the NOAA source . The real tragedy of this story is not
KP2 but the loss of RK22 a young female just entering the
reproductive phase of her life and the impact of “takes” on the
general seal population.
A year earlier in 2007 KP2's mother RK22 had her first pup under
the watchful eye of NOAA personnel. NOAA felt that the
relationship between mom and pup was not going the way it was
supposed to go. They got actively involved moving the baby about
trying to put it closer to mom and so forth, Keep in
mind NOAA literature describes the mom pup relationship at this
stage as very tenuous and that human interaction will result in
the mom abandoning the pup.
“A year earlier, RK22 had given birth to her first pup, a female.
At that time, RK22 showed no interest in her pup, even when the
newborn cried out for her. NOAA officials tried desperately to get
mom and pup together. They placed the pup within visual range of
RK22, but she swam away. They tried again. Nothing. By the fifth
day NOAA took the pup and gave her an examination. She was
emaciated and weak. The only humane thing left to do, they
concluded, was to euthanize the pup. (Source
Why NOAA has injected itself into the pup rearing process at such
an early stage? They know the mom is having its first pup. It is a
learning process for the seal as it responds to programed behavior
evolved over thirteen million years of the species existence. Note
that in the description they have provided they are actively
moving the pup about when it is only a day or two old!
The literature indicates that “the pup does not nurse immediately
after birth” (Adrienne Garbiel, Chapter 10 Monk Seals Monachus
Fleming 1822, CZMT-0636-DE1, Oceanographic Center Nova
At day five they took the pup away from her mom. After examination
they decided the pup was weak and emaciated and the only humane
thing to do was to euthanize it.
So what has happened here? NOAA has injected itself into the
birthing of a monk seal by a totally inexperience mother from the
onset. NOAA doesn’t know what is supposed to happen, Mother
monk seal is trying to figure things out but is not given a
chance. Before you can say, “Monk seals are sensitive to human
interaction” fifty times and really let this sink in and
understand what it means the seal pup is grabbed and place near
its mom within sight distance.
This handling of the pup is done repeatedly! Mom is probably
confused by the human scent associated with what she thought was
her offspring which should have smelled like her.
In a study reported by William G. Gilmartin, Responses of Hawaiian Monk Seals to
Handling. “In the mid 1960s research conducted...
at Kure by Wirtz(1968) was also a likely contributing factor in
the high loss of pups during his two years of field work there. He
assessed pup survival and found that only one of the 62 pups born
in 1964-65 survived to one year of age. His research, however, involved
repeated handling of nursing pups which would have caused
a high level of disturbance not only to the mother-pup pairs,
but to other sealshauled on the beaches as well.”
NOAA would have the public believe that Monk Seals are solitary
critters and once the pup is weaned have no interaction.
There is no bond between animals! Not true! Mother knew, and the
other seals knew that one of their kind had died after being taken
from its mother by humans.
Move forward to May 1, 2008 KP2 born. On the first day, “A year
later it was happening all over again. And this time the
instructions to Olry from her bosses were very clear. Give the motherand pup a day
to reunite. If that fails, rescue him.” Emphasis added. (Source www.themonksealproject.com/?p=872)
Again note: The literature indicates that “the pup does not nurse
immediately after birth” (Adrienne Garbiel, Chapter 10 Monk Seals
Monachus Fleming 1822, CZMT-0636-DE1, Oceanographic Center Nova
Veterinarian Greg Levine is called in to take the pup. Ironically
the photograph shows the mother vocalizing and defending the
“abandoned” pup from the vet. Levine has to exercise a strategy to
extricate the “abandoned” pup from its mom. (Source
Another view as "rescued by David Schofield (NMFS PIRO) and Shawn
Ferry (NMFS PIFSC) on Kaua'i after his mom abandons him. He is so
young a portion of his umbilical cord is still attached."
KP2 moved to Kewalo Research Facility on Oahu with Levine. Early
on the seal develops cornea edema. At the 4th annual NMFS Hawaiian
Monk Seal & Cetacean Stranding Response Network Meeting
presentation Dr. Greg Levine talks about Hawaiian Monk Seal “KP2"
In that talk it sounds like their was some improvement and thus
KP2 was released eight months after his initial capture. Levine
talks about this cataracts problem being commonly found in captive
marine mammals. I would learn later from a variety of other
sources that most marine mammals in captivity are blind.
I also heard at this conference reports that KP2's mother may be
in area and pregnant. The identification was not positive and it
could be another seal.
Marine Mammal Response Network Activity Update, September-December
2009 #13 page 2 Table 1 Summary
of main Hawaiian island monk seal births in 2009 does not
show any for RK22. I have been unable to located any additional
information on this seal. She no longer appears to be part of the
KP2 is released at Kalaupapa, Molokai on December 15, 2008. Within
weeks he had made his way around to Kaunakakai Wharf.
October 16, 2009 KP2 is recaptured and taken back to Oahu. In the
Monk Seal Project Report there is much talk and speculation about
how KP2's behavior will eventually lead to death or serious injury
of someone in the future. This idea that the seal is “too friendly
for its own good” will be the basis for this take and others done
You have to love the diabolical nature of these "protectors of a
critiacally endangered species." Fist they take it from it mother
less than twenty four hours old, then rear it by hand totally
aclimating it to humans. My guess is the poor seal has no idea it
is a seal.but rather that these other creatures are just like
Note the captions under the pictures. Touching, feeding the Monk
Seal may be considered a violation of federal and/or state law.
The NMFS knows full well that this sort of behavior on the part of
these children is illegal. Under state law it is a Class C
Reviewing the literature and talking with many people about their
encounters with monk seals I have found nothing to suggest that
seals are dangerous. I have talked with a number of people that
have had their arm or even their head within the jaws of a monk
seal and suffered no ill effects. (Yes I said “head.” Told to me
by scuba diver who had quite an enjoyable time playing with the
well known Humpy the monk seal.)
The “take” of RO15's daughter occurred eight months before Koki
was born outside Hana. In preparing these comments and researching
the KP2 story I found reference to RO42 in the 4th Annual
Stranding meeting previously referenced. I had video of a number
of sessions. Reviewing the video I found numerous reference to
RO15 and her offspring. As I am understanding things RO15 was the
matriarchal head of the Big Island enclave of seals. Referred to
as the “Mother of all seals” by various presenters. Her offspring
were the problem for NOAA and others apparently not familiar with
Hawaiian monk seal behavior, ie. that they are by nature very
David Schofield, NOAA reported on the details of snatching RO42
and taking her to the Northern Hawaiian Islands. Volunteers were
pleased to be involved in helping to “save” this troubled juvenile
seal from a life of friendly cohabitation with humans in the Main
Hawaiian Island. ( http://monksealmania.blogspot.com/
The loss of this maturing young female to the breeding population
is one aspect of damage to the monk seal restoration project. The
more significant issue is the impact on the main breeding colony
of seals on the Big Island. The successful reproduction of seals
on the island of Hawaii was brought to an end! Mother RO15 was
successfully driven off the island after seven pups.
She went to the island of Maui. She had her 8th pup there. She was
cordoned off and “protected” intensely for two months. Their was
even talk of snatching and moving Koki before he became “too
Apparently the intensity and scrutiny of NOAA on Maui encouraged
RO15 to return to the Big Island. Reports from NOAA to me at the
scooping meeting indicate that mom is fourteen miles up a stream
bed in a remote area.
Based on my observations of mom and her pup rearing capabilities
this new location can not work. Mother and pup need direct access
to the ocean for successful rearing.
It appears to me that RO15 has been lost to the breeding and
reproducing sector of the Hawaiian Monk Seal population.
Other examples of NOAA interfearing with birthing and rearing
seals is this situation on Oahu. The volunteers learn of a seal
birth at Turtle Bay and before the placenta hits the ground they
are on the sceene and defining the parameter of the birth sight
with a plastic fence and a new sign. The sign is reproduced below.
At first glance what do you think it prohibits? Sneezing,
watching and photography was my first thoughts. The correct
answers are talking, avoid eye contact and cameras which make loud
noises when used! The sign says human disturbance may cause the
seal to abandon the pup. My experience suggest that the
disturbance created by the "seal protectors" cause the seal to
abandon the sight. Take Koki's mom for example. She had seven pups
on the Big Island mostly without assistance from the NOAA folks.
The NOAA folks got on her case and she gave up on the Big Island
and came over to Maui. I do not know what they did exactly to
force her out. I do know that they took one of her grown pups and
transported it to the NWHI a few months before Koki ws born.
The close scruiteny on Maui appears to have resulted in mother
returning to the Big Island the following year 2010. She went up a
river course and no one seems to know if she had a pup or not.
RH-44 had a pup on Maui earlier in the year at a beach below Hana.
It was dead in five days and I have not heard of a cause of death.
That seal also abandoned Maui and went over to Molokai to have a
pup in 2010 and 2011.
Conclusions and Recommendations
It can already be shown that the involvement of NOAA in
“protecting and helping” the monk seal has resulted in dramatic
negative impacts on virtually every island in the main Hawaiian
Islands. Loss of new mother RK22 in Kauai. KP2 snatching in
Molokai. Driving RO15 off the Big Island.
Other examples of a systematic approach to the destruction of the
Hawaiian Monk Seal are the placement of transmitters on seals
through out the islands
The program of cordoning off seals that come into any accessible
beach by eggar helpful volunteers under color of NOAA permit.
Annually bleach marking seals previously identified by tags that
can be identified by natural markings such as cookie cutter shark
bites and natural color variation patterns. The level of
sustained human interaction with monk seals has never been higher.
And the seals are paying for it with their lives!
The intensive efforts of NMFS Volunter Monk Seal Response Team to
"protect" nursing mothers has effectively modified the behavior of
KOKI THE MONK SEAL PUP BORN OCTOBER 9, 2009
Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus
This is a collection of videos that document the life of Koki a
monk seal born on Koki Beach out of Hana on the island of Maui.
What makes them unique is that Koki narrates them. He does this by
channelling through Dr Leisure. The embedded video is a
playlist of a series that appear on YouTube.com.
Jeff Walter talks about the needs of the Monk Seal
This the collection on the first fifty days in the life of
Hawaiian Monk Seal