Volunteers monitor female pup

WAILUA — As the search continues for the killer of a Hawaiian monk seal pup at an Anahola beach, another pup of about the same age is being watched on the Eastside.

Monk Seal Response Team volunteers Jim and Connie Fieker of Wailua have been watching a female pup born on Kauai that has been tagged RF-30. It was appearing occasionally on Eastside beaches in late November.

The Fiekers watched over the female seal as it came ashore to rest near the property of Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach in Waipouli on Nov. 28.

The female seal pup that was killed on Nov. 30 was five months old.

A mother seal nurses her pup for around 40 days. Once they gain enough weight, they are left to forage for themselves. When fully grown, the seals reach nearly 8 feet in length and weigh around 600 pounds.

There are around 40 Hawaiian monk seals that make Kauai their territory.

The Kauai Monk Seal Watch Program’s mission is to sustain and enhance Hawaiian monk seals and their habitat by providing management and monitoring, community participation, promoting environmental education and cultural awareness.

A “rapid response” group of volunteers is on call to rope off areas of beaches where monk seals come to rest. They also work with authorities to respond to monk seals caught in nets or which are in other forms of distress.

The Monk Seal Foundation says there are about 1,000 Hawaiian monk seals remaining and the number is declining by 4 percent each year. They are preyed upon by sharks, killed intentionally by humans or caught in fish nets, or die from loss of habitat, marine debris and disease.

The Kauai Monk Seal Hotline is 651-7668. The Kauai Marine Mammal Response Network Coordinator contact number is 354-2956.

Changes gender of the seal pup that was killed on Nov. 30 from male to female.

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