Lots of seals in Waikīkī this month and one exciting turtle rescue! Overall, July was a relatively calm month by our standards. Read on to learn more! 

Number of Contacts Made to HMAR Hotlines in July 2023 – 1,133 contacts

This included 917 contacts for Hawaiian monk seals, 122 contacts for sea turtles, 23 contacts for seabirds, and 71 contacts for other reasons.

Number of Field Support Actions Conducted in July 2023  – 212 actions

This included 19 field actions in the east section of Oʻahu, 39 in the lower west section, 2 in the upper west section, 17 in the north section, and 135 in the southeast section.

It has been a busy seal month for us! We say a lot of the time that our responses come in waves, seal calls are typically pretty consistent but our sea turtle and seabird rescues seem to all happen around one time and then slow down significantly. But every once in a while, we get a massive influx of seals all over the island – July was one of those times! We had a particularly busy few weeks on the beaches in Waikīkī. RK96 “Kaʻiwi” (see picture left) went through her annual molt right in the middle of town for everyone to watch! She is now finished and looking shiny and bright and new!

This month we also completed our first round of wedgetail shearwater colony surveys on the island (see picture right). Both colonies have stayed consistent since last year, with our Kahuku colony numbering over 500 birds! We will survey both colonies again in October to see how many chicks we have before they fledge and go off to sea.

Number of Rescues, Interventions, Stranding Responses, and Escalated Field Actions in July 202318

This included 7 sea turtle responses 10 seabird responses, and 1 Hawaiian monk seal escalated field action.

On Tuesday, July 25th, our team received a call concerning a green sea turtle entangled at Puaʻena Point (see picture left). Upon our arrival, it was evident that the turtle was entangled around both its front flippers and neck. Thanks to our early intervention, we were able to disentangle the sea turtle and conducted a comprehensive evaluation before preparing it for release. The proactive involvement of members of the public, who promptly reported the situation, enables us to intervene early and achieve success in our rescue missions. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to these individuals whose support is crucial in safeguarding our marine protected species.

Remember, if you see a marine protected animal of concern, please do not attempt to intervene. This can be dangerous for you, can result in further problems for the animal, does not allow us to conduct a proper assessment and examination of the animal, and likely constitutes a violation of federal and state laws. What is most important is that you call the statewide marine animal hotline at (888) 256-9840 as quickly as possible, provide photos, and detailed GPS or location information. Your quick and detailed contact will allow us to determine the best action to take and allows us to dispatch trained and permitted responders as needed.

Marine Debris – Awesome Work

This month we had two partner cleanups! Our first was with Aaronʻs Dive Shop at Pokai Bay. As a group, we removed 110 pounds of trash all within a few hours! It was great to meet new divers and clean up a space known for protected species! We also did a beach cleanup with Luluʻs at Ala Moana Beach Park! 

HMAR collected 1,306 feet of monofilament this month, 355 animal hazards, and 53 pounds of debris during 4 HMAR dives. This doesn’t include all the debris we collected during the partner dives above. 

Number of People Reached Through Face-to-Face Outreach and Education in July 2023 –  2189

With school not in session, summer is when our Education team focuses on mostly preparing for the next year and doing public outreach. As always, our team is at Waikīkī Aquarium every other week doing outreach about monk seals, sea turtles, seabirds, and their threats. This month we also participated in the Bishop Museumʻs Seas the Day event for the second year! Weʻre always so happy to go out into our local community and talk with locals and tourists about how to be safe with protected species! 

Additional News & Updates

August will mark the beginning of our Fall internship cohort! Somehow the summer interns are already wrapping up their time with us. We are so grateful to all our interns; we couldn’t do what we do without them. In the next few months, we will start recruiting for the Spring semester, so if you or someone you know is interested in working in marine animal rescue or response, consider applying at!

Mahalo for your support!



Number of Calls – What does this mean? These are calls our hotline operators answer about any species in any situation. Whether it is a monk seal on the beach, a sea turtle of concern in the water, or a seabird that needs help. HMAR answers the calls that are made to the NOAA’s marine wildlife number for Oʻahu and Molokai and we take calls from the public, from the police, fire department, Ocean Safety as well as State of Hawaii agencies. Any call that comes into our hotline is reported here. Some calls result in a field response but many are valuable for animal sightings information or other data that can assist in research. Since our start in 2016, we’ve handled over 62,000 hotline contacts.

Number of Field Support Actions – What does this mean? This is when HMAR sends volunteer or staff resources into the field to perform a variety of actions in support of marine protected animals including Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles, sea birds, dolphins, and whales. Since our start in 2016, we have had volunteers or staff in the field over 26,700 times.

Number of Rescues, Interventions, Stranding Responses and Escalated Field Actions – What does this mean? This number includes any field response that goes above and beyond a typical resting monk seal response. This includes responding to a seal of concern, an entangled, hooked, or injured sea turtle, a seabird in need of medical support, and other situations. Since 2016, we have performed nearly 2,240 of these operations.

Marine Debris Work – Each week our marine debris team removes underwater entanglement hazards (net, line, hooks) from high fishing pressure areas to reduce animal entanglements, hookings, injuries and death of protected marine animals. Since we started our underwater removal activities, our Marine Debris Program (MDP) has removed more than 5,000 animal hazards, cleaned over 275 acres of underwater habitat, and we have collected many MILES of monofilament fishing line. Taking all of this debris out of underwater habitat helps save Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles, and seabirds.

Number of People Reached through Face to Face Outreach – What does this mean? HMAR’s different program activities put our volunteers and staff in direct contact with Hawaii’s residents and visitors. Educating people about Hawaii’s marine protected species and our ocean ecosystem is one of our highest priorities and has an important impact on reducing threats. This number includes outreach done on the beaches as well as the work our Education and Engagement team does going to classes and community outreach events. Since our start we’ve reached 313,000 people.

Thank you for your continued support!