Hawaii Marine Animal Response, a nonprofit, announced Sunday that Hawaiian monk seal R5AY, or “Honey Girl,” gave birth to a healthy pup two weeks ago at an undisclosed beach on Oahu.
The pup, currently known as PO3, appears to be a boy and will be given a Hawaiian nickname by students from a Hawaiian immersion school in the community, according to Hawaii Marine Animal Response in an Instagram post. He will also be tagged and assigned a permanent number.
“Both mom and pup are doing well,” said HMAR. “R5AY is one of Oahu’s ‘rockstar’ moms and this is her 12th pup. HMAR volunteers are watching over the pair to provide outreach and observations to help PO3 grow up without disturbances.”
HMAR, a marine conservation group, works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect marine species on Oahu and Molokai. HMAR volunteers help protect pups and educate the public about Hawaiian monk seals, while providing valuable observations to NOAA researchers.
HMAR prefers not to disclose the site of the beach to protect the pup from crowds of visitors.
Hawaiian monk seals are a critically endangered species protected by both federal and state laws. The public is advised to stay quiet and enjoy Hawaiian monk seal moms and pups from a distance, behind signs or barriers that may be present.
If no signs or volunteers are present, the public can call NOAA’s hotline at 888-256-9840 to report a monk seal mom and pup on the beach.