This Hawaiian Beach Is Off-limits for 7 Weeks to Protect a Newborn Seal Pup

Travelers are asked to stay away from the beach as the new pup adjusts.

View of Waikiki with Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeping

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The birth of a new baby Hawaiian monk seal, named Kaiwi, is being recognized at the Kaimana Beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, and environmental teams are asking the public to stay away in the coming weeks, according to a news release from NOAA. Kaiwi joins five siblings who were also birthed by a 12-year-old monk seal named RK96. 

Travelers visiting the area are asked to stay away from the beach and be respectful of the habitat as the new pup adjusts. Portions of the beach area have been roped off and closed by the Hawai'i Marine Animal Response as the area will be a seal nursery. NOAA expects the area to stay closed for at least five to seven weeks. 

“We strongly recommend using any of the other numerous nearby beach locations for swimming and other ocean recreation activities. Mother seals can be very protective of their young and may bite if they view you as a threat,” NOAA shared in the statement obtained by Travel + Leisure.

A beached Hawaiian Monk Seal rests on the south end of the famous Waikiki beach.

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For visitors who happen to be in the area, NOAA provides guidance to stay at least 150 feet away from the seals, if spotted, and observe any posted placards, signs, fencing, or instructions of officials. There will be 24-hour security monitoring of the area, according to a report from Hawaii News Now.

The birth announcement is good news for the species: Hawaiian monk seals are endangered, not found anywhere else in the world, and there are only 1,600 left, according to NOAA. 

Travelers who visit the area and spot monk seals are encouraged to call the NOAA Fisheries Marine Wildlife Hotline at 888-256-9840. 

Hawaii has seen a tourism surge as visitors return to the tropical islands after pandemic-related delays. Over 700,000 visitors traveled to the Hawaiian Islands in February 2023, which is a 19.5% higher than the same time last year, according to a release from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority.

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