September 15, 2009

Baby seal getting too big to play

Scientists say a baby monk seal named KP2 is getting too big to play with children on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

The endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal has become something of a celebrity since he first showed up earlier this year on Kaunakakai Wharf, where children and local boogie boarders swim and play with the pup, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Wende Goo, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the 17-month-old seal pup now weighs 175 pounds and may start playing too rough with swimmers.

We've had experiences before where a 300-pound animal is just looking to play and then starts holding people underwater for too long. And with how much KP2 likes being around people, we think he's bound to get to that point, Goo told the newspaper.

NOAA officials say they're planning to have KP2 sent about 200 miles away from Molokai for safety.