HMAR announced on its Instagram account that fourth-graders from Hau‘ula’s Hawaiian immersion school helped name the four monk seal pups.
The kids are provided with the date of birth, location, sex of the seal pup, if known, as well as information on its mother, and conditions at the birth location, according to HMAR director Jon Gelman.
They then do their own historic and Hawaiian cultural research on the season, location, weather, moon phase and other environmental conditions to come up with the pup names. Teachers say students really enjoy getting involved in the project.
Oahu’s first pup, PO1 — a male — was gifted the name Kahukai, which means guardian of the sea. He was born in February to his mother Pua, or RF34. Based on HMAR’s records, Kahukai is a fourth-generation Oahu monk seal.
The second pup, PO2, was born in early April and named “Nohea,” which means lovely. Nohea has been able to grow and develop on a quiet beach with her mom, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home order.
Officials are still unsure of the gender of Oahu’s third pup, P03, so students named her Momona, which translates to “abundance,” and can be used for either a male or female seal.
Last, but not least, the fourth pup was named Ikaika, which means “strength,” and seems to fit him. HMAR said Ikaika was born on April 23 to his mom, RL42.
“HMAR would like to thank all of our partners and volunteers that are playing a role in monitoring the development of the pups this year,” said the nonprofit. “The pandemic meant we had to get creative, but it also meant that these pups have had some extra peace and quiet.”
However, the public should remember to give mom and pup monk seals 150 feet of space. Distancing guidelines are even more important when the pups wean, and their mothers leave.
Monk seal sightings and reports of marine animals in distress can be reported to NOAA’s hotline at 888-256-9840.
View this post on Instagram
2020 Pup Names! Aloha everyone, we are excited to work with 4th grade students from an Oahu-based Hawaiian immersion school for the naming of our 2020 Hawaiian monk seal pups. With their help, all 4 pups born so far have now been gifted their Hawaiian names. Oahu's first pup (PO1), was gifted the name "Kahukai", which means Guardian of the Sea. He was born in February to his mother "Pua" (RF34). Based on our records, Kahukai is a 4th generation Oahu monk seal! The second pup (PO2) was born in early April and was gifted the name "Nohea". Nohea means lovely, and she definitely is! Due to the stay-at-home order, Nohea has been growing on a quiet beach with her mom as she develops. For Oahu's third pup (PO3), while we are still unsure of the gender and who the mother is, the students chose the name "Momona". Momona translates to abundance and can be used for either a male or female seal. We can't wait to find out more about Momona and its mom! Finally, “Ikaika” was the chosen name for the fourth pup (PO4) of 2020. Ikaika means "strength," and he certainly seems to be. Ikaika was born on April 23rd, 2020 to his mother RL42. HMAR would like to thank all of our partners and volunteers that are playing a role in monitoring the development of the pups this year. The pandemic meant we had to get creative, but it also meant that these pups have had some extra peace and quiet. If you see a mother and pup pair, be sure to give them 150 feet of space. Once these pups wean and their mothers leave, it's extra important to respect distance guidelines. Young Hawaiian monk seals are still learning their way, and we must allow them to learn naturally without human interference.