Hau`oli La Hanau Ho`ailona

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 By Catherine Cluett

The friendly Hawaiian monk seal known as KP2, later named Ho`ailona, that frequented Molokai waters and made many friends is turning three years old this May. He is currently lives at the University of California – Santa Cruz, where he is contributing to ground-breaking research on his species to help biologists better understand monk seal behavior.

A young Ho`ailona, or KP2, on Molokai. Photo by Val BloyA young Ho`ailona, or KP2, on Molokai. Photo by Val Bloy“He’s so tuned into people, it’s been remarkable working with him,” said Terrie Williams, professor of biology at UC, overseeing research on Ho`ailona.

His supporters in California are celebrating his birthday with an annual run dedicated to marine mammals on May 8, according to Williams. After the race, competitors will have the opportunity to meet Ho`ailona, and proceeds go to food for their star Hawaiian monk seal.

Ground-breaking Research
Scientists are currently studying Ho`ailona’s diving behavior and how he swims. They have trained the seal to dive to the bottom of his tank, stay there for a period of time, and surface in a “metabolic chamber” that helps biologists monitor oxygen rates, metabolism and heart rates.


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