The Odyssey of KP2

The Odyssey of KP2


Answer the questions below as you read the book The Odyssey of KP2.

Part I:  Destiny

When KP2 was born, his mother abandoned him. Describe what might have led his mother to leave him to die.



In the days following KP2’s rescue, his veterinary team realized he didn’t know how to eat. He was starving. What interventions did the vet team use to save this pup and help him get back to his native waters? What were some consequences of these interventions?



Before KP2, no Hawaiian monk seal had been transferred out of the Hawaiian islands, and the Recovery Team along with other agencies that work with marine mammals had reservations about moving him to Williams’ lab in California. What were some of the concerns people had?



Part II: Passages

The Hawaiian Islands are the most geographically isolated communities on earth, which has resulted in some inhabitants having naive immune systems. What does this mean historically for monk seals usually found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and for KP2 once he was moved to Williams’ lab in Santa Cruz, California?



What are some causes for the declining population of Hawaiian monk seals?



Stop reading here! Check with your teacher before you begin reading Part III.

Part III: Survival

Why was it important for Williams and her team to collect data on KP2 while he was an adolescent?



KP2’s love for people and being at the center of lab activity made it difficult to follow the strict biological conditions Williams needed to collect the data. What did she and her team do to create the right conditions for collecting the data?



Williams said she has learned to rely on animals to lead her science instead of the other way around. What did she mean by that?



Williams’ research led her to conclude that Hawaiian monk seals will go extinct if humans didn’t agree to share the ocean with them. What led her to that conclusion?



The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is one of the largest conservation areas in the world. The lead scientist for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program under the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and a team of federal and nonfederal scientists proposed moving young monk seals into this conservation area. Why?



What was missing from this government plan, and what was the resistance to it? 



Terrie Williams described herself as a reclusive scientist who preferred to work outside of the public realm. She had worked in isolated settings, like Antarctica, and in the confines of her lab in Santa Cruz, California, where “data were just data.” Why did her research with KP2 require her to step into public, social, and cultural arenas, and how did she cross that bridge? 



What about the history of the monk seal led Williams to conclude that the monk seals were neither invaders of the Hawaiian Islands nor gluttons as some locals had claimed?



Williams and her team had hoped KP2 could be released back into the waters of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Why did they alter that plan, and what happened as a result?



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