State conservation officers begin 24/7 watch of Kaimana Beach monk seals
Mother monk seal, Kaiwi, and her pup spent an hour and forty minutes in the water off Kaimana Beach in Honolulu on Saturday morning. It was the third day, since the pup’s birth, the pair have taken to the ocean.
Emily Greene of Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response watched with dozens of spectators as mom and pup frolicked a little, but mostly stayed in a secluded area off the popular beach. Greene said, “I’m amazed they spent so much time in the ocean, and you could tell once they hauled back up to the beach they were pretty exhausted.”
Officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement were already on land and on personal watercraft providing the first day of 24-overwatch for the seals.
At a news briefing last Thursday, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement Chief Jason Redulla said his officers will help keep people safe by directing them away from where the seals are in the water. Anyone who ignores their directions could be cited or arrested, but that’s not expected to happen.
All the paddlers and swimmers, officers encountered Saturday, paid attention and traveled well away from the seals. As Kaiwi takes her pup on wider excursions and explorations, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers, along with City and County lifeguards, and staff and volunteers from Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response will continue educating beach goers about safe wildlife viewing protocols and safety zones in the ocean and on land. With increasing seal activity, people are strongly encouraged to go to other nearby beaches for ocean recreation.
The cordon (perimeter roping) on the beach covers the entire beach, except for a current ocean entrance next to the Natatorium. A Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer there, was directing people to safe access to the water. On personal watercraft, other officers made sure people in the ocean knew where the seals were, and where to safely exit the water.