It’s the 2020 Hawaiian Monk Seal Pup Season

We are approaching pupping season in Hawaii! Our partners at NOAA tell us that while Hawaiian monk seals can give birth at any time of year, most pups in the past 3 or 4 years on Oahu have been born during the spring and summer. If you see a mom and pup on the beach, here are some things you should know:

  • Monk seals are born weighing about 25-35 lbs., are black in color, and nurse on land for about 5 to 7 weeks.
  • During that time, it is important to minimize disturbance as much as possible to ensure the mother remains with her pup, the animals develop a normal mom-pup relationship, the pup gets the nutrition it needs to fuel proper development, and are given the best chance at long-term survival.
  • Hawaiian monk seals are endangered, with only about 300 animals in the main Hawaiian Islands (only 40 or so on Oahu), so every pup is important to this small population. By giving mom-pup pairs space, you can help support population recovery for Hawaiian monk seals.
  • To minimize traffic and potential disturbances at pupping sites, specific pupping locations are typically not announced by HMAR or NOAA.
  • If you come across a mom and pup and find no signage, fencing or HMAR personnel present, please call our hotline immediately at (888) 256-9840. This number is also used to report any monk seal sightings and for turtles, dolphins or whales that may be in distress. To report seabirds in distress please call (808) 687-7900.
  • It is also very important to never feed a Hawaiian monk sealAfter 5-7 weeks, the mom will leave the pup and it will be left on its own to survive. If young monk seals are fed by humans during this time, they may not learn how to hunt for themselves. This lowers the animals chance of survival.
  • Please be aware that mother seals can be very protective of their young and are more likely to exhibit territorial behavior with a pup. For their safety and yours, give them at least 150 feet of space. Please stay behind any fencing or signs and listen carefully to the instructions of HMAR personnel on sites. This helps keep the seals wild.

Thank you for your kokua in the preservation and recovery of this endangered species.

If you’d like to support HMAR’s work for Hawaii’s marine protected animals, considering donating here.