Welcome To The World: Hawaii's First Monk Seal Pup Of 2023!

The monk seals, native to the Hawaiian Islands, are considered one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. They're unique because they're one of the only seal species that lives in warm tropical waters. The Hawaiian monk seal is characterized by its black or dark brown fur and a white or gray belly. They're also known for their cute button noses and playful personalities. 


Nearly 6 years ago, Hawaiian monk seal RH58 (Rocky) surprised us all and gave birth to a female pup on a busy, high-traffic beach in Waikiki 


Now, that world-famous pup RJ58 (Kaimana) is raising a pup of her own, but in a much quieter location.On January 28, 2023, Kaimana gave birth to the first pup of 2023 in the main Hawaiian Islands. Peak pupping season usually begins in spring, so this early start is a welcome surprise. 

Kaimana's decision to give birth on a quieter beach away from where she was born is noteworthy because Hawaiian monk seals often return to their birthplace to give birth.  

ahuku Elementary School’s fifth grade classwas given the opportunity to name the newborn pup. They choseUʻiMea Ola, or Uʻi for short. It means “beautiful survivor.”  

It's important to remember that these creatures are endangered and need our help to survive. We can help by giving them space and respecting their natural habitat. If you encounter a mom-pup pair, keep your distance, and give them at least 150 feet of space. And if you see a monk seal in general, call the NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline to report your sighting.