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Hawaiian Monk Seal Released Following Fishing Gear Ingestion

The Marine Mammal Center approved the release of an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, known as R7AF, after treating the animal for fishing gear ingestion at Ke Kai Ola.

After the animal’s arrival and endoscopy procedure at the Center’s hospital on January 28, veterinary experts noted the animal was recovering well. The Center’s team utilized special de-hooking tools while R7AF was under anesthesia to safely remove the ingested hook avoiding a more complex surgery and recovery.

Analysis from a series of blood and fecal samples taken during the initial care process showed no signs of illness, including toxoplasmosis. Based on the seal’s health status and heightened risk for habituation due to its age, the Center recommended its immediate release, and NOAA initiated release plans.

R7AF is now back on Oʻahu where NOAA Fisheries and HMAR will monitor the monk seal for the next several weeks.


Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries


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