Miracle of rare monk seal birth in Hawaii caught on camera!

Honolulu, Hawaii - The birth of a Hawaiian monk seal was caught on camera last week, offering a rare look at a stunning natural process.

Pup PO5 working its way over a rock, while its mom cheers it on.
Pup PO5 working its way over a rock, while its mom cheers it on.  © screenshot/ Hawaii DLNR

On April 14, 2022, a Hawaiian monk seal mother dubbed RN58 gave birth to PO5. That is the fifth pup born on O‘ahu this year.

Lesley Macpherson of the DLNR Division of State Parks witnessed this miracle of life and caught it on video for all to see.

It is the sixth Hawaiian monk seal birth that she has witnessed, according to a press release from the Hawaiian Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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Macpherson said that the pup was on the move as soon as it burst out of the sac: "As soon as its sac burst, the little one starting wiggling around. Mom checked on it by vocalizing. He was able to move fast."

The pup continued to explore the beach it was born on until it encounter a rock. It's first big challenge in life.

"It was 20-minutes old when it made it to the rock. Mom was on the other side vocalizing. The pup took three-long minutes to scale it," Macpherson continued.

Eat, sleep, repeat

Baby PO5 and mom RN58 resting after birth and rock climbing.
Baby PO5 and mom RN58 resting after birth and rock climbing.  © screenshot/ Hawaii DLNR

According to the DLNR's press release, they will work with NOAA Fisheries and Hawai'i Marine Animal Response to actively monitor the moms and their pups for the next five to six weeks.

Three other monk seal pups born earlier this year on O‘ahu unfortunately died of undetermined causes.

A day after PO5 was born, it was nursing well and had gone for its first dip. Lesley kept up her watch and reported that five days after birth, "PO5 had a long nursing session and was out cold."

Just like a human baby – eat, sleep, repeat!

Hawaiian monk seals are endangered animals. As the Associated Press noted, there are only some 1,400 such seals in the world.

Most of them live on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the rest, about 300, live in the Main Hawaiian Islands.

Cover photo: screenshot Hawaii DLNR

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