Ewa Girl/RS00 was born in the NWHI in 1992 on Midway Island. As a weaned pup she was flipper tagged at Midway with the tags S00 (left) and S01 (right). She was spotted on Laysan Island in 1998 and 1999. She first appeared in the MHI in 2000, visiting Molokai and then Kaua’i. She was de-hooked on Kauai in April of 2000. She received her name in 2002 after a fish hook was removed from her mouth in Ewa Beach. She was also given new flipper tags at that time (1AO/1AP).
Brenda Becker, perhaps one of the first NOAA field camp visitors to see Ewa Girl shared this information:
“I first met Ewa Girl when she was 6 yrs old on Laysan Island in 1998 and then I saw her the following year in 1999. I remembered the c-shaped scar on the right side of her head from back then. She was the 1st mom to pup on the Big Island! I met someone on Maui who had photos of her with a pup on Niihau in 2004, so I was able to add that information to her pupping history. This is a great link and has very good information on Ewa Girl and her incredible legacy. A link is provided below to see a great tribute to her from NOAA.
Barbara & Robert’s memories are some of DA BEST! Please continue to read:
“We first heard of Ewa Girl through The Seal WHISPERER, DB Dunlap. I bugged him for any history of her and he was so kind to provide it.
So one day, on our hunts for seals, we came across the Legendary Ewa GIRL A10 AT THE TIME. It was my BIRTHDAY and we were stoked to meet her. FINALLY, hanging out at Palm Grove Campbells. It was Mar 25, 2008.
She was huge and very pregnant with her next Pup…Kerby RW08. I got my whole family to walk the walk to Ewa Girl that day…it was a big event for us.
April 20, 2008 we were at Kaena Pt with three seals when we got the exciting call from the DB…GET OVER HERE, EWA GIRL JUST GAVE BIRTH. We left Kaena Pt immediately and made it out to Makai Pier. Oh my look at that jet black pup.
It was a first time seeing a pup for us from 1/8 mile away through a scope.
BUT…something was wrong, the pup wasnt moving up due to high tide. DB was intently looking with his scope. Seems the pup was stuck in between the rocks. It was horrible to observe…we left.
DB called to say NOAA came and cut the umbillicus and all is fine, pup reunited with Mom…Ewa Girl. Thank god for DB’s observations that day..he saved a seal…KERBY. HMSPO will be publishing another series of historical information “Citizen Scientists” in the upcoming months.
Ewa Girl was a seal with just three teats…not many know that fact.
June 2011, a pup was seen on the reef runway, and we all went RIGHT, SURE. Dera called to ask us to go to Reef Runway to make an ID. Oh my gosh, Aileen Ramos, the security made that call to NOAA. And to our delight, there was Ewa girl with a pup with lots of movement and swimming with her. I called Dera and schofield to say, this is a pup born several days ago, its swimming!!! Very alert. That pup was called Kekoa ALii RK72…named by security guard Aileen Ramos, it was her grandsons name. I told DB of the name, it was sealed with approved…Kekoa Alii.
One day we found Kekoa Ali’i with a packing strap around his belly…notified NOAA, Shawn McFarrin came and cut the strap…Kekoa did NOTHING, went back to sleep.
In May 2013, Ewa Girl gave birth a second time on the reef runway to RN36 U’i lani, also named per Aileen Ramos. We observed U’i lani for two years and she made it out to Maili for a while to our delight.
April 2014 was the last documentation of Ewa Girl. She was pregnant at the time…we were looking forward to that birth, but she disappeared. We looked for her for days…never saw her again. It broke our hearts.”
Ewa Girl gave us many pups and a lot of entertainment in the years we all cared for her and her pups. She was generally very considerate to us volunteers, as many of her pups were born on Manana Island and other remote areas. DB Dunlap, Robert & Barbara Billand, and many dedicated people followed this seal all over Oahu. When she was not having pups, she traveled to many different beaches, many on the West side. Her seal buddies ranged from Kermit, Irma, M&M, Pohaku, Nihoa, R018, Benny, and many more. Another favorite location was Hanauma Bay, where she was a regular. I recently met a lady who works at Hanauma Bay that remembers Ewa Girl and DB with great reverence and fondness.
DB named Ewa Girl’s offspring after watermen. Duke for Duke Kahanamoku. As it happens, Ewa Girl had another son, the following year after Duke was born. Since THE Duke had a younger brother named Sam, DB thought it was fitting that seal Duke also had a younger brother, who he named Sam.
Ewa Girl was a great Mom and primarily gave birth on Rabbit Island to some of our more infamous seals here on Oahu: Kirby, Sadie, Duke, Buster, and Sam. Keeping with her considerate attitude towards volunteers, she had Kekoa Ali’i, and one of our dearest, beloved, and entertaining females, U’ilani, on an isolated beach out at the reef runway.
Ewa Girl had numerous scars along with a C shaped scar on the right side of her face, and a healed cc scar on her left side behind her fore flipper. As sometimes happens with our gone but not forgotten Mommas, we have to rely on last sightings. As Barbara mentioned, Ewa Girl’s last sighting was April 20, 2014.
Ewa Girl’s documented offspring
RM34 – 5/2/2001 – Big Island – Relocated to Johnston Island
Unknown born 4/18/2004 on Niihau – no info as to sex
Buster-RV08 – 5/6/2005 – Rabbit Island
Sadie-RB12 – born April 10, 2007 – Ewa Girl/Rabbit Island
Kerby-W08 – April 20, 2008 (Ewa Girl) pupped at Rabbit Island
Duke-RA12 – 5/7/2009 Rabbit Island
Sam-RT30 – 5/25/2010 – Rabbit Island
K72/73 – Kekoa Ali’i – ~June 20,2011, Reef Runway
N36/37 – U’ilani – May 17, 2013- Reef Runway – died 11/8/2015 of toxo
Photos of Ewa Girl & Kekoa Ali’i & U’ilani, two years apart courtesy of Barbara Billand & Dana Jones