But was there a lei greeting? Perhaps a lei of small fish would have been in order …
A northern fur seal that’s not supposed to be in Hawaii showed up at Sunset Beach on Oahu recently.
It’s been taken to the Honolulu Zoo where Kahu Kehau, of Honu Consulting, delivered a traditional Hawaiian blessing recognizing the seal, welcoming her to Hawaii and wishing for her safe return to her natural habitat.
The northern fur seals live in cooler waters of the Pacific rim, from Japan to waters off of California.
From the mayor’s office:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) response team members found the wayward seal on a North Shore beach exhibiting peculiar behavior.
“This is a very unusual situation,” said Mary Harbold, education specialist at the Honolulu Zoo. “The range of the northern fur seal is in the cooler waters of the Pacific rim, from Japan to the Channel and San Miguel Islands off California. When the response team discovered the seal it was not behaving like a normal monk seal. It was walking on all flippers like a walrus rather than like an inch worm as our monk seals normally do.”
When NOAA volunteers spotted the seal they thought it was a pup because it was so emaciated, she said. “It was taken to the zoo and placed in quarantine to protect our native mammals.”