Endangered monk seal pup born on a Hawaii beach is captured on film

‘As soon as the sac burst the little one started wiggling’: Incredible moment an endangered monk seal pup is born on a Hawaii beach is captured on film

  • PO5, a rare Hawaiian monk seal pup, was filmed being born on a beach in Oahu
  • The incredible footage was taken by a state department employee last week  
  • Hawaiian monk seals are a endangered and there are only about 1,400 in world

A rare Hawaiian monk seal – named PO5 – was captured being born on an Oahu beach and ‘wiggling around’ next to its mother.

Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species and there are only about 1,400 in the world. 

An employee of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources shot incredible video and photos of the seal emerging from the mother onto white sands last week.

Lesley Macpherson, who who works for the department’s Division of State Parks, said: ‘As soon as its (amniotic) sac burst, the little one starting wiggling around.

This photo provided by the Department of Land and Natural Resources shows a Hawaiian monk seal and her newborn pup on a beach in Oahu, Hawaii, on April 14, 2022

PO5 was one of two baby seals born on Oahu last week. Officials and volunteers will actively monitor the moms and their pups until weaning in about five to six weeks

‘The mother monk seal checked on her pup by barking as the newborn flapped its flippers.’

Of the estimated 1,400, is is estimated about three-quarters of this total live in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a remote string of small atolls northwest of Hawaii’s populated islands.

The rest, about 300 seals, live in the Main Hawaiian Islands including Oahu and Maui.

Images taken of a Hawaiian monk seal being born on an Oahu beach have been captured on camera

An employee of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources shot video and photos of the pup emerging from the mother onto white sands last week

The pup emerges from its mother. Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species. There are only about 1,400 seals in the world

PO5 was one of two baby seals born on Oahu last week. Officials and volunteers will actively monitor the moms and their pups until weaning in about five to six weeks.

After weaning, officials will aim to tag the pups and may apply temporary satellite transmitters to the seals to help keep track of them

Three other pups born on Oahu this year died from complications related to birth, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Ryan Jenkinson, who leads the state’s protected species program, said it’s important for people to stay outside roped barriers set up to safeguard the mothers and their pups. He urged people to keep their dogs on leashes at all times. 

How are there just 1,400 monk seals left in the world

Monk seals don’t end up living for long despite being able to reach 30 years because they face a number of threats, most notably food limitations (partially influenced by climate change), entanglement from marine debris and derelict fishing gear and disease and contaminants.

They must compete for food with other, larger predators, face habitat loss from storm erosion and sea level rise, and are often subject to safety concerns with human interaction. 

According to NOAA Fisheries, there are an estimated 1,400 seals in the world, with around 1,100 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and 300 in the main Hawaiian Islands. 

It is one of the most endangered seal species in the world and althought there is a promising upward trend in numbers currently, the population was an overall decline for six decades.

Current figures are only at about one-third of historic population levels.

Source: NOAA Fisheries 

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