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Reproduction, Growth and Development, and Juvenile Mortality in the Hawaiian Monk Seal

William O. Wirtz II
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1377979 229-238 First published online: 20 May 1968


Data on reproduction were collected during a tagging and census-ing study at Kure Atoll in the Leeward Hawaiians. Fifty-three known-age seals were tagged in 1964 and 1965, and observations on growth and development were made on 47 individuals. The annual reproductive rate at Kure was 15 live pups per 100 adults. About 19% of the adult females bred in successive years, and only 56% of the adult females had pups in either of the two seasons. Pups are usually born in March, April, or May. Pups spend about 5 weeks ashore before disappearing from the island. This period is devoted to slight growth in total length and deposition of large amounts of fat. Females remain with the pups during this 5-week period, and nursing is believed to end with departure of the pup. Sharks and adult seals contribute to juvenile mortality.

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