WAIMANALO, Hawaii (KHON2) – A Hawaiian blessing was held to welcome Hawaiian monk seal Kekoa to his new home in Sea Life Park on Saturday, October 2.
Kekoa is also called KE18.
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He attended the University of California at Santa Cruz while participating in a study on hearing and communications in the monk seal.
The study was carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Life Park Hawaii, the Waikiki Aquarium, and Living Marine Resources.
Kekoa will be relocating to Sea Life Park where visitors can see him.
“I think he’s so cute and adorable!” California visitor Liz Wong said. “I want to hug him and kiss him”
“Kekoa’s personality is a very funny seal,” said Beau Richter, veterinary assistant at Sea Life Park.
“He has a personality that I would call bold, but presented in a very humble manner. So far everyone has been happy to see him. Many people are excited to meet him, get to know him, and learn more about the Hawaiian monk seals.
There are approximately 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals in the wild.
Richter says they’re generally solitary animals that don’t hang out in groups like sea lions.
The average lifespan of a monk seal is between 25 and 30 years.
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Kekoa is 19 years old.