News release, US Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), 5 October 2012
Photo courtesy NOAA
The Department of Land and Natural Resources and NOAA Fisheries announce that since the beginning of 2012, NOAA Fisheries, DLNR, and partners have responded to 13 seal hooking incidents involving ten individual Hawaiian monk seals.
Due to early reporting, seven of the 11 live cases ended successfully with intervention from authorized federal and state agency monk seal responders.
Two cases ended in the seal ridding itself without intervention, and although an intervention was attempted, one seal remains hooked to this day.
Three cases ended in deaths.
Most recently, on Oct. 2, 2012, the monk seal locally known as “RK54” was found dead near the Ninini Light house on Kauai. The seal swallowed a hook, became entangled in the line, and died. RK54 was born in April 2011 to RK22 (mother of the “famous” KP2 who resides at Waikiki Aquarium).
News Release, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii, 11 May 2012
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA Fisheries announced this week that since March 2012, NOAA Fisheries, DLNR, and partners have responded to five seal hooking incidents involving four individual Hawaiian monk seals. Three of these responses are still in progress.
NOAA and DLNR would like to take this opportunity to remind fishermen that monk seal deaths and injuries from fishing interactions can often be prevented, and adverse impacts to fishermen and seals can be reduced through early reporting of incidents.
“Monk seals are a vital part of Hawai‘i’s marine and cultural environment,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “While DLNR and NOAA seek to address all adverse impacts on Hawaiian monk seals, we want to acknowledge the cooperation of Hawai‘i fishermen and emphasize that we do not consider fishing interactions in the main Hawaiian Islands to currently pose a major threat to monk seal recovery.”
NOAA Fisheries Service data indicate that a total of 77 hooking incidents have been reported over the past 10 years, with at total of nine incidents in 2011 and eight incidents reported thus far in 2012 (including the five incidents discussed here). [More]
Dr. Haulena gives endangered monk seal anaesthesia for surgical procedure (NOAA)
Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena, received an emergency call on May 9 to fly to Hawaii to help support a local rescue effort.
He participated in two successful procedures to remove accidentally-ingested fishing hooks from endangered monk seals on May 10.
One of the monk seals required surgery to remove the hook, which was lodged deep in the esophagus near the opening to the stomach. Dr. Haulena performed the anesthesia and collaborated with Dr. Robert Braun and veterinarians at the Honolulu Zoo to remove the hook. The seal is in recovery and rehabilitation is expected to take several days to weeks. [More]
Media Watch, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 15 January 2012
[...] The current theory is that the ancient ancestors of today’s Hawaiian monk seals began exploring from their original home in the Caribbean 3 million years ago through what is now Central America during a time of global climate change, said Charles Littnan, program leader for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian monk seals research.
“We don’t know how long that immigration took to occur, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years,” Littnan said. “We do know that quite dramatic climate change was happening, and these are tropical animals that will have to go to where they are better adapted to survive. They probably went to other areas and didn’t survive. But Hawaii was this perfect match for this far-traveling seafarer.” [...]