Hawaii News

Hawaiian monk seal pup Paʻaki leaves Waikīkī beach to begin new phase of life

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NOAA Fisheries and Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response successfully release Hawaiian monk seal pup Paʻaki at a more remote, undisclosed Oʻahu beach on June 13, 2024. Photo Courtesy: NOAA Fisheries (Permit #24359)

NOAA Fisheries and its partners have relocated the female Hawaiian monk seal pup Paʻaki from busy Kaimana Beach in Waikīkī in Honolulu, to a more remote Oʻahu shoreline.

Mother seal RK96, known as Kaiwi, weaned Paʻaki on June 9, after nursing and caring for the pup since May 1.

The new location will allow Paʻaki to grow up wild, offering more frequent opportunities to engage with other seals than with people. This is important for the young pup’s development.


NOAA Fisheries collected Paʻaki with on-the-beach support from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response and the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement on the evening of June 12.

NOAA Fisheries then transported Paʻaki to its facilities for an overnight stay in a large enclosure built for monk seals. Thursday morning, flipper tags and a temporary satellite tag were applied so NOAA Fisheries can monitor Paʻaki as the pup explores her new home.

  • Hawaiian monk seal pup Paʻaki on a new beach. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response (NOAA Fisheries Permit #24359)
  • Hawaiian monk seal pup Paʻaki swims in the water after being released on a new beach. Photo Courtesy: NOAA Fisheries (Permit #24359)
  • Hawaiian monk seal pup Paʻaki received her flipper tags. Photo Courtesy: NOAA Fisheries (Permit #24359)

Paʻaki was assigned RT96 as a permanent NOAA Fisheries ID. The pup also received a vaccination to protect against morbillivirus, or phocine distemper. NOAA Fisheries also collected biomedical samples as part of its population health monitoring efforts for this endangered species.


The next stop for Paʻaki was the new beach. Once released, Paʻaki headed for the water.

NOAA Fisheries will track the pup’s movement patterns for several weeks to months using the satellite tag. Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response and other partners will also help monitor the pup. Together NOAA Fisheries and its partners will share updates to the community, through various media channels, on how Paʻaki is settling in.

To minimize stressors to monk seals, NOAA Fisheries generally does not publicly disclose their real-time locations. In keeping with this policy, NOAA Fisheries is not sharing the relocation site for Paʻaki at this time.


Hawaiian monk seals like Paʻaki are found nowhere else in the world, so it is very special to see them in person. Show your kōkua by being respectful around these seals and other marine wildlife.


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