Help needed to find hooked seal

A Hawaiian monk seal entangled in fishing gear was spotted in Kukui‘ula Small Boat Harbor by employees of SeaSport Divers on Saturday.

Officials with the company who reported the sighting said the seal is believed to have a large hook embedded in the roof of its mouth, and is trailing between two and three feet of metal cable line that is plastic-coated.

Observers also reported that the seal is medium-sized, and has red tail flipper tags, said Dr. Mimi Olry, Kaua‘i marine conservation coordinator.

Olry said she needs additional eyes to help find this endangered seal so that the seal can be caught and proper veterinary care provided to remove the hook and entanglements.

Olry cautioned people that, “when around any seals, they are endangered and protected by federal and state laws, so distance must be maintained to prevent their disturbance.” Olry also reminded people about following state laws for all beaches, especially keeping all pets on leashes, as dogs and cats carry diseases to which monk seals are susceptible.

People who see the entangled seal, as well as a reported stray elephant seal, should call the monk seal hotline at 651-7668, she said.

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