There’s an adorable new monk seal pup on Hawaii’s Kaimana Beach – and authorities are taking every step to make sure mother and baby are both unbothered by humans.
Authorities have erected a “temporary fence” around the beach to protect the mother and pup, according to a Facebook post from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The fence is intended to “promote public safety and seal protection during the nursing period,” the department said. “People are encouraged to use other areas for beach and ocean recreation.”
The department added the pup will most likely stay with its mother while it is nursing for the next five to seven weeks.
They noted mother seals in particular can be “very protective of their pups” and have seriously injured swimmers in the past, making it “unsafe to swim” in the Kaimana Beach area, the department added in a news conference about the birth.
There will be a 24/7 law enforcement presence on the beach to protect the seals, said Jason Redulla, chief of the division of conservation and resources enforcement, during the news conference.
“It’s better for you at this point to find another beach to recreate at,” Redulla noted.
Hawaiian monk seals are one of the most endangered seal species in the world, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There are estimated to be just around 1,570 seals left in the wild.
The species is threatened by habitat loss, entanglement in fishing gear, diseases, and occasional intentional killings from humans.
As an adult, the adorable newborn will be as long as six to seven feet and weigh up to 600 pounds, NOAA said.