Hawaiian Monk Seal Too Friendly?

Hawaiian Monk Seal KP2 is a bit too friendly for his own good.
Hawaiian Monk Seal KP2 is a bit too friendly for his own good.
Photo Courtesy Eric Demmers
He's a seal pup who might just believe he's a puppy, as CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

An unusually friendly baby monk seal on the Hawaiian island of Molokai has been showing off his playfulness in YouTube videos and beach photos.

The 17-month-old seal clearly loves people, says Eric Demmers, who took the pictures. "He'll pretty much give you a hug. He likes to be petted. He just acts like a big dog."

He was abandoned hours after birth and raised by a wildlife rescue team who named him KP2. But now that he's grown to 175 pounds his playfulness could turn dangerous, because mature seals can hold people under water.

Officials tried moving KP2 40 miles away but he was back two days later. Now they're considering moving him 200 miles.

It's a dilemma familiar to those who care enough to rescue wild animals. Human contact can be a blessing and a curse.

When an orphaned sea lion named Ella was brought to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom she didn't even know how to swim. Volunteers had to help teach her.

It saved her life, but she'll never have the skills to survive in the wild.

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium an ambitious program to raise abandoned sea otter pups was designed to teach the otters everything they would have learned from their mothers. But the otters lost their fear of people, and that endangered their survival.

On Molokai residents are hoping that KP2 can beat the odds and stay wild but still hang out with them. They're willing to take the chance.

YouTube: Mac and KP2

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.