Monk seal pup triggers federal response after swimming into natatorium pool again

Monk seal pup triggers federal response after swimming into natatorium pool again

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kaimana, the (rascal) monk seal pup that was born at the beach by the same name, once again swam into the Waikiki Natatorium on Thursday morning.

A federal marine mammal response team responded, but didn't have to pluck the endangered Hawaiian monk seal from the pool. The pup and his mom were able to figure out how to swim out on their own.

David Schofield, of NOAA, said the pup swam into the pool about 10:44 a.m., and the two left about 2 p.m.

NOAA volunteers are continuing to monitor the two monk seals, and are urging beachgoers to give the animals a wide berth.

"We're very very pleased that mom and pup were able to navigate the underwater holes there at the natatorium," Schofield said.

"They've been through an ordeal, although they were showing signs of diminished stress inside the natatorium. It's been a long morning and day for them, so we ask that you keep your distance and keep back."

Officials are trying to figure out how to prevent Kaimana from going back into the natatorium's pool.

Schofield said the pool is no place for a young seal pup.

"Mom was able to find her way in to rescue the pup and bring it back out. However there are unforeseen cavities in there, confined spaces, rubble, rebar," he said. "It is positive that they got out of there on their own. It's a little bit better than if they go in there at night, they might be able to come back out. But again, it's not a place where monk seals should be. They should be out in the wild."

Last week, the pup swam into the natatorium's pool at night, triggering a quick response by NOAA volunteers.

Beach goers and others who have been watching the pup and her mom knew something was wrong when the mother seal began barking frantically and the pup was nowhere to be found. Volunteers were able to pluck the pup from the pool.

This story will be updated.

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