That’s right, Monk Seals close a portion of Waikiki Beach, as another mother gives birth on the bustling beach. Like all the previous births, this one occurred on Kaimana Beach. Unlike last time, though, it’s Ka’iwi – not Rocky – that gave birth, and the closure is MUCH bigger this time around.
On April 14th, Ka’iwi gave birth to her fifth pup – her second on Waikiki Beach. Like her previous pup, and all of Rocky’s prior births in the area, this one took place on Kaimana Beach, right in front of the Kaimana Beach Hotel. However, thanks to the issues encountered with Rocky and Koalani, officials are taking a much more cautious approach to managing people this time around.
Monk Seals Close a Portion of Waikiki Beach
Typically, when Hawaiian Monk Seals are born in Waikiki, officials and volunteers with the State of Hawaii DLNR, NOAA, and the Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) group set up a perimeter around the new mother and her pup with constant monitoring. However, even that effort couldn’t prevent people from interfering, and worse, getting injured last time around, so they decided to step up their mitigation efforts this time around.
So, for the next four to six weeks – Hawaiian Monk Seals normally nurse for five to seven weeks – virtually the entire Kaimana Beach will be closed as Monk Seals close a portion of Waikiki Beach. You will not be able to get to the water in this area, and officials are urging people to not swim into the area. Yes, temporary barriers have been set up, while officials and volunteers will continue to patrol the area, too.
If you guess that this is likely a response to the California woman that got mauled after “unknowingly” swimming into Rocky and Koalani last year, then you’d be right. But it also acknowledges that more space, and therefore, less contact with people, is better for the development of the Monk Seal pup. After all, these are wild animals, and part of ensuring their survival is to ensure that them remain wild.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see a monk seal pup in a convenient location. So, despite the fact that the monk seals close a portion of Waikiki Beach, we head out early this past Saturday to go check them out. As you can see in the above photos, you can’t as close to Ka’iwi and her pup as you could with Rocky and Koalani. Despite this, I was still able to get some good photos of the two.
Despite the pup being only a week old, it has already begun swimming. In fact, during our visit, the HMAR volunteer said that this was the second day that the pup had been swimming. Currently, that involves short swims in shallow water, but as the pup ages, it’ll begin venturing further out, and the swim times will extend significantly. That’s why there are now DLNR officers in the water ensuring that people don’t swim into the area – especially when the seals are in the water.
That monk seals close a portion of Waikiki Beach likely won’t impact the vast majority of visitors. However, it does greatly impact guests of the Kaimana Hotel, as well as locals that frequent the area. But, again, this is just a temporary inconvenience. As I said earlier, the seals will likely be there for just another month-ish. And, as one of the most endangered species on the plant, we should be celebrating the birth of any Hawaiian monk seal – doubly so when it happens in a place that we can conveniently witness it.