2017 is the Year of the Monk Seal! This campaign coordinated by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, comprises a series of recovery actions, cutting-edge research, and public events targeted at building awareness and momentum for the next 10 years and more of monk seal recovery.
According to NOAA, "the Year of the Monk Seal is also a celebration of a new, positive population estimate for the species. The most recent annual population assessment shows that the Hawaiian monk seal, bucking past trends, has increased in numbers by 3% annually for the past three years. The population is now estimated to be around 1,400 seals — about 1,100 seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NHWI) and 300 seals in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI)."
Monk Seal Born on Waikiki Beach! For the first time since NOAA has kept records in the 1970s, the first seal to be born in Waikiki made headlines on July 29, 2017. The 17 year old mother, known as RH58 and nicknamed Rocky, has lived on and around Oahu since 2002. She has given birth before but always on Kaua'i, where she was born. This time she had her pup at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki. The baby seal, a female, is aptly named Kaimana.