'Rocky' the monk seal gives birth to a healthy pup

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Good news for Mama Rocky the monk seal — she's given birth to a healthy pup!

On Monday, NOAA officials said she delivered on a remote Kauai shoreline.

NOAA officials say Rocky and her pup appear to be doing well. This is her 11th pup she's delivered.

Nine of her previous pups were born on remote Kauai beaches. Her 10th pup — which was a complete surprise to spectators — was delivered on a crowded Waikiki shoreline last June.

She gripped the hearts of hundreds of adoring fans while becoming an online celebrity for her choice in nursing areas popular to tourists and locals.

NOAA officials are happy Rocky chose a calmer place to deliver this pup.

"With daily crowds of thousands of people and no other monk seals to socialize with, a place like Waikiki Beach is not an ideal place for pup to grow up to be a healthy and independent monk seal," Aliza Milette-Winfree, NOAA's Oahu Marine mammal Response Coordinator said.

2018 has been a record year for monk seal births in the main Hawaiian islands with 26 so far, officials said.

The previous record was 21 births in a year set in 2013.

And in case you're wondering, monk seals mate underwater. Females mature at age 5-6 and when they're pregnant, their gestation period lasts 10 to 11 months, according to The Marine Mammal Center.

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