An Un­likely Am­bas­sador

Waikiki Magazine - - IPLAY - By Natalie Tarce

Among the 500 marine species that call the Waikiki Aquar­ium home, Hawai­ian monk seal Ho‘ailona, also known as KP2, is by far one of the more pop­u­lar. A re­cent book pub­lished about KP2 (Kauai Pup 2). The Odyssey of KP2 chron­i­cled his in­cred­i­ble jour­ney as an aban­doned pup to how he helped sci­en­tists gain in­sight on how to save his species.

Af­ter be­ing re­leased in the wild for about six months, con­cern grew when KP2 be­gan in­ter­act­ing more with hu­mans in­stead of other seals. Also, KP2 devel­oped cataracts, which deemed him per­ma­nently un­fit for re­lease and was then trans­ferred to UC Santa Cruz in Cal­i­for­nia for fur­ther care. Dur­ing the fall of 2011, KP2 was brought to the Waikiki Aquar­ium which now serves as his per­ma­nent home.

Vis­i­tors can in­ter­act with KP2 through a large view­ing win­dow and the Aquar­ium is now ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic about monk seal con­ser­va­tion. Through his charm­ing per­son­al­ity and unique story, KP2 has pro­vided re­searchers with im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion about the be­hav­ior of monk seals and has be­come a house­hold name in the world of monk seal con­ser­va­tion.

The next time you’re at the Aquar­ium, stop by and say aloha to KP2 and learn more about his fas­ci­nat­ing story!

Photo: courteSy waikiki aQuar­iuM

Waikiki Aquar­ium 2777 Kalakaua Ave. [D:12 Waikiki Map] (808) 923-9741

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