Monk Seal Pupping Season in Full Swing

NORTH SHORE (KHNL) -- Two monk seal pups born earlier this week are creating some excitement among NOAA scientists.

A monk seal named R5AY by scientists gave birth on Monday at an undisclosed location on the north shore.

They say the male pup appears to be doing well.

And Wednesday, another monk seal named RK28 also gave birth to a pup on the north shore.

The sex of the pup is not known at this time.

Scientists report the mother and the pup appear to be well.

"The birth of two more pups is fantastic news!" remarked David Schofield, NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region Marine Mammal Response Coordinator.  "Because the monk seal population is declining at an alarming rate, every birth is precious.  We're trying desperately to ensure monk seals do not become extinct like their counterparts in the Caribbean."

The two births brings the total number of seals born in the main Hawaiian Islands to ten, compared to seven last year.

NOAA officials say they are expecting several more births in the coming months because they have already identified several pregnant females.

Monk seals usually give birth between February and July with births peaking in the months of April, May and June.