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Orphaned Hawaiian Monk Seal Moves To New Home In Waikiki Aquarium

 

Hawaii Monk Seal - public domain from Wikipedia

Living here on Oahu is great because there are so many happy stories. To say “happy” in Hawaiian you say Hau’oli  (how-oh-lay).

Just today I learned that a rare (and endangered species) Hawaiian monk seal is moving back to Oahu from the California aquarium he has been living in for the last 2 years, ever since he was found abandoned, nearly blind, and trying to suckle milk from a rock.

That is a monk seal staring at you from the picture just above.  Cute!

Orphaned Hawaiian Monk Seal Moves To New Home In Waikiki Aquarium

A nearly blind Hawaiian monk seal found years ago trying to suckle a rock at a Kauai beach after his mother abandoned him is settling into his new home at the Waikiki Aquarium.

Hoailona, also known as KP2, has been poking his snout into the corners and edges of the outdoor pool as he explores the new environment he moved into this week.

“He’s curious about everything that’s around him,” aquarium director Andy Rossiter said Thursday.

Hoailona is about 12 in human years. National Marine Fisheries Service officials first found him trying to suckle on a rock when he was just three days old.

A pup his mother abandoned the year before died and they decided to rescue KP2 so he wouldn’t meet the same fate.

Humans raised Hoailona until he was old enough to be released into the wild, and then set him free on Molokai.

There, the seal gravitated to people and soon became famous for charming and playing with swimmers. But authorities had to take him away when he started holding people underwater. His eyesight was also found to be poor.

Hoailona has spent the past two years at a California research laboratory.

Hawaiian monk seals are a critically endangered species. There are only about 1,100 remaining in the wild, and their numbers are declining by 4 percent a year.

The aquarium hopes Hoailona will help the public learn about their plight.

“We like to think that he belongs to everybody, and that he will serve as an ambassador for his species to alert visitors to the plight of Hawaiian monk seals in the wild,” Rossiter said.  Original story here.

Now, I know not all that many locals visit the Waikiki Aquarium, but I hope you do visit Hoailona (KP2), and support the cause of saving more Hawaiian Monk Seals.  There are only 1100 left in the world, but we can do something about that!

Please drop me a note, or leave a comment below in the comment area if you visited the Waikiki Aquarium just to see this orphaned Hawaiian Monk Seal, Hoailona.

 

~~Aloha Nui Loa

 

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