This Baby Seal Is a People Person, And That Makes Him Dangerous

Hawaii’s KP2 Made His Name Loving Humans, But His Ardor Is Getting Growing Pup Deported

The Wall Street Journal

KAUNAKAKAI, Hawaii — For months now, a baby monk seal named KP2 has been the biggest celebrity on the island of Molokai.

Since the animal arrived at Kaunakakai Wharf in February, several children from the island have made a habit of swimming with him. Area paddlers and boogie boarders have shared laughs watching him climb into or onto their boats and boards. One resident was so comfortable with KP2 that he put his golden retriever in the water with the seal and documented it in a YouTube video.

But now that KP2 calls Molokai home, he is likely to be sent away any day now. That’s because the 17-month-old pup is maturing. His weight, now 175 pounds, has more than doubled since spring, and he has begun playfully grabbing swimmers from behind with his flippers.

Seal experts worry that KP2 risks loving people to death. “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,” says Wende Goo, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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