Honey Girl Hawaiian Monk Seal

Honey Girl the Hawaiian Monk Seal Honorary Plaque Unveiled at Turtle Bay Resort

The plaque honors the beloved Turtle Bay resident and her legacy.

An honorary plaque has been unveiled at Turtle Bay Resort commemorating the life and legacy of Honey Girl, a beloved Hawaiian monk seal who called the waters of the North Shore home. 

Regarded by scientists as a ‘Super Mom,’ Honey Girl raised at least ten monk seal pups, several of which were birthed right here on the beaches of Turtle Bay Resort. A critically endangered species, Hawaiian Monk Seals often live far away, by islands without people. Honey Girl was a special case, and was often found on our shores basking in the sun and having a good nap. 

In November 2012, Honey Girl was sighted by kiteboarders floating in the water with a fishing hook in her mouth. She was recovered days later on Sunset Beach, emaciated and covered in algae, with extensive swelling in and around her mouth and an ulua fish hook in her cheek. With her tongue cut by a fishing line, she hadn’t been able to catch or swallow food for several weeks.

At the Honolulu Zoo, veterinarians performed the first known operation on the tongue of a Hawaiian monk seal and were able to save half of her tongue. At first, she refused fish offered to her and had to be fed mashed herring and water in a stomach tube. She became increasingly irritable in the days following the surgery, but miraculously started eating on Thanksgiving. 

After thirteen days of recovery, Honey Girl was returned to the ocean at Turtle Bay, just north of where she was found. She hadn’t regained much weight, but was well improved. A group of well-wishers who gathered to see dive off into the weaves noted that she was like a “dog running in the rough seas,” which is the meaning of the Hawaiian name for monk seals: ‘īlioholoikauaua (ilio-holo-i-ka-ua-ua). 

In the years following her surgery, Honey Girl was successful in foraging with her modified tongue, eventually regained her normal weight, birthed three more pups, and even became a grandmother. She was routinely spotted on the beach at Turtle Bay with her family. 

After several more years of thriving on the North Shore, Honey Girl passed away in 2020. Her story demonstrates the incredible resilience of Hawaiian monk seals and the importance of monk seal conservation efforts on the main islands of Hawaii. 

Hawaiian monk seals can be spotted off the waters and on the beaches of the North Shore. When viewing a monk seal on the beach, observe them from at least 150 feet away and limit your observation time to 30 minutes. Never attempt to swim with or touch a monk seal. They can be aggressive when defensive. If you spot one on a tour, do not make eye contact.

For more information on Hawaiian monk seals, visit Hawaiian Monk Seal Preservation Ohana.

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