Pohaku R028 – A Well Loved Resident of Kauai & Oahu

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“A New Life”  –  Pohaku and Pup PO5

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Pohaku Snoozing – 10 months pregnant with PO5

For those of us who have been doing this “seal thing” for a few years, we all fall in love with Pohaku (RO28). She has entertained many of us with her visits on the Westside, but we still give a sigh of relief when she goes home to Kauai to have her pups. After all, her Aunties and Uncles on Kauai protected her and helped raise her. Well, like Rocky a couple of years ago, Pohaku surprised us all when she decided to pup on Oahu a few days ago in a location that hasn’t seen a pup born there in 30 years (we have an inside historian that shared that little tidbit).

Who is Pohaku? Pohaku was born on Kauai on May 3, 2006. According to Monksealmania.blogspot the first documented sighting of her visit to Oahu was on October 17, 2010…the DB Dailies, quoted in part say: “The highlight I spoke of came in the form of a new arrival to Oahu. I have no previous sighting info in my files anyway. RO28, a 4 y.o. female, born on Kauai (5-3-2006) was at the point.” Since this first visit, Pohaku has spent most of each year snoozing on the beaches of Oahu, only returning to her natal beach on Kauai 6 previous times to give birth to her pups. Through the years, Miss Pohaku, as some of us lovingly refer to her, has become a very good Mom who has now produced her 7th pup in a very unexpected way. She comes from a wonderful Mom (RK06) herself who had quite a legacy going until, lying on the beach one day, she and her unborn pup were intentionally shot and killed by a 78 year old man on Kauai. We remember RK06 with great love, sadness, and respect for her contributions and sacrifice to her species and are very grateful that her legacy lives on with Pohaku.

1 201907229V9A7635 Pohaku and Nanea (PO5)

Pohaku might also have gained a little notoriety because of last year’s pup switching incident with another one of our shared Kauai/Oahu seals Rocky (RH58) and her pup PK5. According to the reports Pohaku “forcefully” took little PK5 from Rocky but later reunited with her own pup PK4 leaving RK5 abandoned. That particular “seal nursery” on Kauai can be brutal since at a certain time of year it can have 3 or more pups and mamas on the beach at the same time. Events like pup switching are more common in that environment. Pohaku went on to wean her own pup PK4 (RKA6) and she returned to Oahu shortly afterwards. PK5 was then relocated to Ke Kai Ola on the Big Island where he was successfully rehabilitated and later released as RK58 on his home island of Kauai. Last report by his watchful volunteer Ohana is that he’s doing very well.

So, that brings us back to this year’s landmark moment when Pohaku decided to stay on her adopted island to give birth. I’m sure our monk seal friends on Kauai might be giving a sigh of relief, but we here on Oahu, while thrilled, are making sure there are plenty of response volunteers at the pupping site daily to protect Pohaku and PO5 as well as other long-time volunteers who are there to provide ongoing education and outreach to the public about our newest Oahu mama and her beautiful pup.

1 201907209V9A4148  Pohaku and Nanea (PO5)

I do encourage everyone to visit http://www.monksealmania.blogspot.com July 19, 2019 Dailies to review the pupping site “safe viewing guidelines”. If anyone has any questions, or would like to tell a story about Pohaku, then please feel free to contact us at HMSPO at sealonthebeach@gmail.com .

Welcome to the world little one. This is a VERY lucky seal pup as “she” (no gender has been officially announced) has already received a very special blessing by her resident Auntie who also named “her” Nanea. According to the pup’s Kahu the name means tranquil, peaceful, calm. There is a wonderful narrative by Barbara B. about this event on the http://www.monksealmania.blogspot.com July 22, 2019 Dailies.

201907259V9A7549-2  Pohaku and Nanea (PO5)

Here is a line-up of Pohaku’s kids*:

5/11/2013 First pup, RN30, Male, Kauai: Has been known to travel between Kauai and  Oahu.

5/21/2014 RF28, Male, Kauai: Has been reported to hang out at Niihau.

5/26/2015 RG28, Male, Kauai: Has been reported to haul out on Kauai’s South Shores, This birth was captured on video by one of Kauai Seals volunteers and can be seen here https://kauaiseals.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/field-report-spring-pupping-season/

6/15/2016 RH80, Female, Kauai: Has been reported to regularly circumnavigate Kauai

6/24/2017 RJ28, Male, Kauai: Has been reported to beach on Kauai’s North Shore and East Side.

6/2018 RKA6, Female, Kauai: Has been reported to beach on Kauai’s North Shore and has already had a couple hookings in her short life – successfully removed and healed.

7/19/2019 PO5, gender unknown, Oahu
*Seal information from the archives of Kauai Seals’ Monk Seal Monday  http://www.kauaiseals.wordpress.com and Monk Seal Mania Blog http://www.monksealmania.blogspot.com

Photos Courtesy of Melody Bentz Photography @ melodybentzphotography.com or melodybentzphotography@gmail.com

 

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