JULY 1, 2000
The newsletter proved to be quite useful in the
very first hour of our first issue. Bob Inouye, from the Pacific Missile Range
Facility, called to advise that the scheduled monk seal aerial survey would conflict
with RIMPAC exercises due to the closing of airspace in that part of the island.
RIMPAC is the largest maritime exercise in the Pacific, taking place in the waters
off Hawai`i, designed to enhance communication and tactical capabilities between
the U.S. and six free world nations.
Bob, along with Lt. Harrison, offered to conduct the monk seal survey as part
of their reconnaissance during RIMPAC. What a great gesture of cooperation from
the military to the civilian sector! However, since all Hawaiian islands are involved
in RIMPAC, it was decided to cancel the survey until July l0-l4, with Kaua`i probably
being scheduled for July l3 or l4.
The pup born on Mothers Day on the north shore is a male. He's doing fine,
and now weighs about l50 lbs. Two days after the mom weaned it, Thea and Jason
(NMFS), flew over from Honolulu and tagged it on both flippers, with red tags
numbered H-40 and H-4l. Anyone having connections with the boating community are
asked to advise the captains about the new pup and ask them to be on the lookout
for a curious little seal, hopefully offering some protection. The pup born last
just after weaning, when it was hit by a boat. The time shortly after weaning
can be a precarious time for pups, until they learn how to care for themselves.
Melissa Shaw offered comments on the Doberman story that was in the last newsletter:
"Dogs should be kept off the beaches for two reasons:
1. Seals can be negatively disturbed and forced back into the water by the bark
or approach of a dog.
2. There is the strong possibility of a disease being transmitted from dogs to
seals which, when introduced to the monk seal population, could devastate the
seals. It would be unlikely for them to have naturally existing immunity to the
diseases of other species."
News from other islands: The main islands welcomed a third pup this season, born
June 10 on Moloka`i. There are now at least 152 monk
seal pups born in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. A fishing vessel, the Swordsman
II, ran aground at Pearl and Hermes Reef in early June. Pearl and Hermes is one
of the main pupping areas, and is home to a NMFS research camp. Monk seal researchers
rescued the crew, and the Coast Guard was able to pump 79,000 gallons of fuel
off of the boat. Unfortunately 2,200 gallons of fuel spilled, along with 70 miles
of longline, floats, and hooks. The final cleanup and removal of the boat from
the reef is still pending. In the meantime, the monk seal crew is monitoring the
wildlife for problems.
The newsletter is now being sent to three states other than Hawai`i
--- so much loving interest in the monk seals!
Kaua`i Monk Seal Watch Program Volunteer Coordinator and Liaison
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