A marked monk seal pup

I posted here about seeing the monk seal Hiwahiwa on the coast below Upolu. In that post I noted that Hiwahiwa, the only monk seal pup born around the Big Island in 2020, had no tags or markings of any kind.

Some time after that sighting I saw this monk seal in the same general area. Since the seal was on the small size I figured it could be Hiwahiwa, but it didn’t move so I couldn’t even be sure if it was male or female. I reported the sighting to Ke Kai Ola, which tracks monk seals, and got the response that it probably was Hiwahiwa. They noted the line circling his body in front of the flippers and, while they can’t say with certainty how he got the scar, it’s believed he got entangled in some fishing line.

So now I have a way of identifying him and, of course, haven’t seen him since. The scar doesn’t seem to have bothered him and, like most monk seals, he looks quite contented while resting. The markings on him are where he’s been splashed by waves, the darker skin being wet and smooth.

Posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.


14 thoughts on “A marked monk seal pup

  1. Pingback: A look back at 2021 | Graham's Island

    1. Graham Post author

      It’s sad, but this mark is minor really compared to some of the wounds I see. The water is a dangerous place, both from man made debris and the plethora of predators.

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    1. Graham Post author

      He has plenty of padding for comfort! I haven’t seen him for a while, but I believe he swims around the island quite a bit rather than sticking to one stretch of coast as some do.

      Liked by 1 person

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