Everyone seems to be talking about Rocky and Kaimana, the beloved Hawaiian monk seal mother-daughter pair. The two made Kaimana Beach their home since Kaimana was born in June. Now, the nursing period has ended and Rocky returned to the ocean without her pup. Although it may seem sad, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists remind us that it’s part of the weaning process. After Rocky's departure, Kaimana was moved to a new shoreline to allow her to live in a more natural environment.
At a recent press conference, NOAA and state officials thanked the public for their interest in Rocky and Kaimana. "What we’ve seen over the last 40 days is an amazing event, something very unique, something we’ve really never seen here on Oahu in a [popular] beach park area," said Jim Howe, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. "It’s been really terrific to see the kokua (help), to see how everybody has gotten along well together."
As one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, NOAA estimates that there are only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals left in the Hawaiian Islands and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Although most Hawaiian monk seals live outside of the main Hawaiian Islands, NOAA says Hawaii residents can help protect them by observing them from a distance if they’re seen on the beach or in the water. People are also asked to call NOAA if they see a monk seal in a less frequented area or if a monk seal is in danger.
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
In addition to giving us an opportunity to learn more about the Hawaiian monk seal, Rocky and Kaimana gave many of us a reason to smile. If you’re not ready to say goodbye, research shows that looking at pictures of animals can give you a boost. Here are a few to get you through the week.
Photos credit: Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR).
What did you love about observing Rocky and Kaimana? Share your thoughts in the comments.