Popular monk seal returns to Waikiki beach

A popular resident has returned to Kaimana Beach on Oahu.

Rocky, a Hawaiian monk seal, has been spotted all over the south shore recently.

Wildlife officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say she’s been lounging on Kaimana Beach for the last three days.

That’s the same beach where she gave birth to a pup, aptly nicknamed Kaimana, three and a half months ago. Rocky left in August after weaning Kaimana.

“She’s been showing up first thing in the morning, before daylight, and staying here between about 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then taking off,” said David Schofield, marine mammal response coordinator for NOAA.

“She just seemed so comfortable, like she was right at home,” said beachgoer Bonnie Jarvis.

We’re told Rocky has also been spotted recently at Hanauma Bay, and on the beach near the Hale Koa Hotel.

“We think it’s because they’re out foraging, and it may be that they spend time in different areas over time, because the fishing may be better in certain areas,” Schofield said. “She’s going out to gain all that body weight that she lost during the nursing period.”

NOAA also says it’s possible Rocky is expecting again, but officials won’t know for sure until next year.

“We know that we can usually gauge it 381 days after the last birth. That’s their normal birthing cycle,” Schofield said. “We’ll look at that time frame two weeks after, and if she’s looking really big, then we can suggest that she might be having another baby.”

Beachgoers we spoke with are enjoying Rocky’s return while they can.

“I had heard that she was here yesterday morning and the morning before, so I came down hoping that she would be here and she was,” Jarvis said. “I think because of her birthing here, a lot of us have grown especially close to her.”

It’s not known where she might show up next, but NOAA is reminding the public not to get too close to the monk seal.

“If you see her on the beach, she’s probably been out all night foraging and she needs her rest,” Schofield said.

NOAA said if you spot a monk seal on the beach, call (808) 220-7802.

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