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THE ODYSSEY OF KP2 by Terrie M. Williams

THE ODYSSEY OF KP2

An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species

By Terrie M. Williams

Pub Date: July 9th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59420-339-8
Publisher: Penguin Press

A true tale of an orphaned Hawaiian monk seal and the humans who rescued him.

Abandoned almost at birth by his mother, KP2 would have certainly died without human intervention. Because Hawaiian monk seals are one of the most endangered marine mammal species in the United States, researchers were unable to let nature take its course. In this informative book, renowned marine biologist Williams, who directs the Marine Mammal Physiology Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, chronicles the seal’s rescue and first years of life. “From the moment of his birth,” writes the author, “he changed how many of us view our lives on this fragile planet.” After several months of care, KP2 was released into the warm waters of Hawaii. However, frequent sightings and close encounters with the seal on the shoreline made it apparent that KP2 craved human contact over that of his fellow seals. So he was returned to human custody. Scientists soon discovered the pup had developed severe cataracts over his eyes due to a lack of vital nutrients at birth. He was flown to Williams' lab in California for treatment. Williams and her team of researchers began an intense study of the young male, and they collected important data on KP2's growth rates, feeding habits and sociability, with the "survival of [the] entire species" resting on his shoulders.

A moving, action-packed account of KP2's rise to fame, his humorous antics while at the lab and the political and social battles that ensued by moving the seal away from his native Hawaiian waters.