Headlines – News – Articles
17th September, 2012

Monk seal death in Ithaca: another forgotten statistic?

On 27 August, we published news on our Facebook page of an apparent monk seal killing on the islet of Atokos near Ithaca. The incident had been reported to us by Mattia Bernasconi of Ithaca-based Kioni.net, who discovered the young seal floating dead in the water, its stomach and abdomen bearing a large, deep gash.

Although we understand that Kioni reported the incident to the Ithaca Port Police, no official alert was received by MOm (Hellenic Society for the Study & Protection of the Monk Seal), the NGO that administers the monk seal rescue and stranding network in Greece (RINT). Port Police offices form important constituent parts of the RINT, being encouraged to report as a matter of urgency any monk seal deaths or strandings.

The Monachus Guardian alerted MOm of the monk seal death on Atokos by email on 27 August, but received no reply until a followup message on 12 September.

We were informed that the organisation had been in touch with Kioni as soon as news of the apparent killing appeared on the Internet. With the Port Police’s lapse in reporting the incident, however, and the body subsequently drifting away or washing up unremarked elsewhere, any chance of a necropsy had been lost.

Examining the photos, MOm expressed the view that the injury might have been inflicted while the animal was still trapped in fishing nets (dead or alive), with the intention of sinking the carcass (and thus potentially incriminating evidence). The absence of the body preventing any firm conclusion on the cause of death, however, no further investigation was conducted nor information released to the press.

The official, NGO and press reaction to the killing comes in stark contrast to similar incidents in Hawaii, which have generated headlines nationally, intensive investigation, outreach programmes to local fishing communities and legislative change.

We have to wonder when Greece and the European Union might wake up to similar action.

26th April, 2012

Officials investigate seal death

Media Watch, Officials probe fourth Hawaiian monk seal death, Hawaii News Now

HONOLULU (AP) – Federal and state officials are investigating the fourth suspicious death of a Hawaiian monk seal in six months after a male seal was found dead in northeastern Kauai. […]

Source: Officials probe fourth Hawaiian monk seal death, Hawaii News Now, 25 April 2012.

26th April, 2012

New monk seal killing alarms Hawaii

Media Watch, Reward offered in death of Monk Seal, KITV

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating the death of 3-year-old male monk seal found on Kauai, Sunday. Photo Courtesy: NOAA

KAUAI – The Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating the death of a 3-year-old male monk seal, who was found dead on Sunday.

DLNR chair William Aila said the seal was found on a Northeast Kaua’i beach in an area were seals have been harmed before. […]

DLNR officials say this is the fifth monk seal death under investigation.

Since November, three seals were found dead on Molokai and two have been found dead on Kaua’i.

The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the monk seal deaths is now up to $40,000.

The anonymous and reward tip line is 1-855-DLNR-TIP.

Source: Reward offered in death of Monk Seal, KITV, 25 April 2012

27th January, 2012

Some say monk seal protection law may have backfired

Media Watch, KITV,25 January 2012

The suspicious death of four Hawaiian monk seals has triggered numerous calls into a tipline hoping to lead investigators to who may be responsible. […]

YouTube Video

12th January, 2012

$30,000 Reward

Media Watch, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 12 January 2012

Rewards of up to $30,000, the largest of its kind in Hawaii, are being offered for confidential tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed three critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals on Molokai and Kauai since November.

Tips on each killing come with individual $10,000 rewards, for a total of $30,000 for all three cases, said Inga Gibson, Hawaii’s state director for the Humane Society of the United States. […]

Today, Aila [chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources] and Gibson [Hawaii’s state director for the Humane Society of the United States] announced a new toll-free, confidential hotline for tips that can lead to the $10,000 and $30,000 rewards — 1-855-DLNR-TIP. [More]

Source: $30,000 in rewards offered for clues on who killed monk seals, Dan Nakaso, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 12 January 2012

8th January, 2012

Hawaii’s seal killing outbreak

Media Watch, USA Today, 8 January 2012

No one knows who is killing the seals — a critically endangered species — or why.

But the deaths are coming as the federal government steps up its efforts to protect the seals, leading to simmering resentment among some fishermen who fear new regulations will trample upon their right to fish. The killings are also happening as the misguided notion spreads that the animals aren’t native to Hawaii and don’t belong here.

“It’s really serious. This attitude, this negative attitude toward the seals has overpowered the concern that this is a species that’s going to become extinct,” said Walter Ritte, a Molokai resident and longtime activist who has sounded an alarm about the killings. [More]

Source: Outbreak of endangered seal killings in Hawaii, USA Today, 8 January 2012.

5th January, 2012

Suspected killing of fourth seal investigated on Kauai

Media Watch, KITV, 4 January 2012

A fourth monk seal found dead in the islands in less than three months has state and federal officials appealing for the public’s help to stop the killings. A fisherman reported the latest Hawaiian monk seal found dead two days ago in Pilaa on the Northeast coast of Kauai. It was a juvenile male, who state officials said had suspicious, visible wounds to his head. The injuries are similar to three monk seals found dead on Molokai’s westside in recent weeks.”We hope to stop this trend and the only we can do this is to have people understand that we need to get along and there’s no reason for anyone to go out and kill a monk seal,” said state land director William Aila. [More]

Source: Monk Seal Death On Kauai Under Investigation — Kauai Death Makes Four Dead Seals Since November, KITV, 4 January 2012.

30th December, 2011

Third monk seal found dead

Media Watch, Honolulu Civil Beat, 28 December 2011

A third monk seal was found dead on Molokai Wednesday and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working to determine the cause of death.

The discovery comes after news last week that NOAA is investigating the deaths of two other monk seals in which foul play is suspected. […]

The monk seal deaths come at a time when tensions between local fishermen and NOAA have escalated as the agency considers expanding protections for the endangered species around the main Hawaiian islands. [More]

Source: Third monk seal found dead on Molokai, Sophie Cocke, Honolulu Civil Beat, 28 December 2011