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News / Life / Pets & Wildlife

Camera records birth of endangered seal

Images of a Hawaiian monk seal being born on an Oahu beach have been captured on camera

By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press
Published: April 22, 2022, 6:26am
2 Photos
This photo provided by the Department of Land and Natural Resources shows a Hawaiian monk seal and her newborn pup on a beach in Oahu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2022. The mother monk seal checked on her pup by barking as the newborn flapped her flippers. Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species.
This photo provided by the Department of Land and Natural Resources shows a Hawaiian monk seal and her newborn pup on a beach in Oahu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2022. The mother monk seal checked on her pup by barking as the newborn flapped her flippers. Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species. (Lesley Macpherson/Hawai'i DLNR via AP) (Lesley Macpherson/Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources) Photo Gallery

HONOLULU — Images of a Hawaiian monk seal being born on an Oahu beach have been captured on camera.

An employee of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources shot video and photos of the pup emerging from the mother onto white sands last week.

“As soon as its (amniotic) sac burst, the little one starting wiggling around,” Lesley Macpherson, who works for the department’s Division of State Parks, said in a news release Tuesday. The mother monk seal checked on her pup by barking as the newborn flapped its flippers.

Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species. There are only about 1,400 seals in the world. About three-quarters of this total live in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a remote string of small atolls northwest of Hawaii’s populated islands. The rest, about 300 seals, live in the Main Hawaiian Islands including Oahu and Maui.

The pup, named PO5, was one of two baby seals born on Oahu last week. Officials and volunteers will actively monitor the moms and their pups until weaning in about five to six weeks.

After weaning, officials will aim to tag the pups and may apply temporary satellite transmitters to the seals to help keep track of them.

Three other pups born on Oahu this year died from complications related to birth, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

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