Into the NWHI: Stories of the 2013 Hawaiian Monk Seal Field Camps

Get a glimpse into field life in the NWHI through the eyes of conservation scientists who will be living on the islands to conduct monk seal research and recovery efforts until September.

7/4 – Day 2: Nihoa

Jessica Farrer – JIMAR Field Camp Leader at Pearl and Hermes Reef

While most of America was out barbequing wieners in celebration of the fourth of July, the field crew on the Sette was on the hunt for a different variety of weaner. We arrived at Nihoa Island early this morning in calm seas and light wind.  A very lucky group of six of us had the privilege of going ashore to conduct a census and tag this years weaned pups or any other individual that could be safely captured.

The calm seas made for an easy landing and sleeping seals made for easy counting.  In all three locations we counted a total of 28 seals with one mom pup pair. Unfortunately there were no weaned pups. However we did manage to successfully capture and tag two juvenile females. But the prize-winning find of the day was the resighting of YA08, a female four-year-old that was translocated from French Frigate Shoals in 2009. Twelve total weaned pups had been translocated in the summers of 2008 and 2009 from French Frigate Shoals to Nihoa in an effort to increase the chances of survival of these young animals.

With the beautiful weather, spectacular cliffs and swaying Nihoa Palms, it was a pretty amazing backdrop for a fourth of July afternoon. Couple that with the feast the galley crew of the Sette prepared tonight and…  Life is good in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

For more information about the rich cultural history and natural resources of Nihoa visit: http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/visit/nihoa.html

Nihoa

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