The Kahana came back again last week. It brought 2 more people to Tern. That gives us 11 people now. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) which is in charge of the Hawaiian monk seal program, hired 2 people to try to help with the shark problem we have out here. So far this year, 3 pups have been bitten by sharks, so a permit was issued to allow them to remove the sharks that are attacking the pups. They will only be targeting the sharks that specifically are going after the pups at Trig Island. Normally, we would say that it's just part of nature that some animals eat other animals, however, since the monk seals are endangered and numbers are still dropping, we've got to do everything we can to minimize the loss of the pups. It seems that there are only a couple of sharks that are doing the damage and if we can take care of them, then it will hopefully save a lot of pups. We also had three Hawaiian cultural practitioners (locals who have learned the traditional Hawaiian practices) come out to perform a ceremony for the taking of the sharks. It was nice to have them out here and it was great to have the cultural interaction and see the thoughtfulness that traditionally went into activities like fishing or visiting another island.
Our albatross banding is about done. We are still finding one or two that somehow hid from us, but overall, the volunteers did a great job. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,200 birds banded this season.
See you next week, if the internet works!
I finally got my underwater camera back from Best Buy. Just in time to get this picture of Pablo with a big Ulua (giant trevally).
Those 2 orange specks in the boat are Carlos and Tiphanie.
Here are the seal and shark crew with the Hawaiian cultural practitioners performing a ceremony for the taking of the sharks that are killing the monk seal pups.
This Laysan albatross chick is testing out the wind.
So far we've only had one sooty tern chick fledge. This one won't be ready for a few more weeks.
We went to East Island one morning and got a little bit of rain. Most of the albatross chicks have fledged from there already.