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Marine Biologist Terrie Williams And The Inspiring "Odyssey Of KP2"


Terrie Williams is the author of The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species. The book, which was Boise State’s Campus Read in the 2014/2015 academic year, tells the story of a monk seal pup who was abandoned on a sandy Hawaiian beach in 2008, and who went on to capture the hearts of locals and tourists alike. When local fishermen objected to the seal’s presence on the beach, officials made an unprecedented decision to move him across the ocean to the lab of Ms. Williams, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

In The Odyssey of KP2, Terrie Williams writes with humor, passion and insight about what it was like to study the endangered young monk seal, and about the unique bond she formed with him. Today, KP2 is an exuberant 8-year old living and playing at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Meanwhile, Ms. Williams continues to study some of the most endangered mammals to walk on land or swim in the oceans. Among her recent projects was an expedition to Kenya to collar male lions as part of efforts to understand how animals survive in a world that is constantly changing. She also recently spent time in Antarctica to study how Weddell seals are able to swim deep underwater and navigate their way back to cracks in the surface ice so they can breathe.

Terrie Williams is director of the Integrative Carnivore EcoPhysiology Lab at the University of California, Santa-Cruz.