Monk seal transported to Oahu after swallowing fish hook

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal was transported from Kauai to Oahu after the animal swallowed a fish hook.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used an HC-130 Hercules airplane to move the injured seal to Oahu for medical treatment.

The seal was flown to Oahu on Tuesday.

It’s the second such incident on Kauai this year.

A large ulua hook was removed from a monk seal on the North Shore last month. That 2-year-old monk seal, known as RN44, was spotted April 3 with the hook and an 18-inch line attached to it, stuck in its left cheek. A team caught up with the monk seal April 10 at Kaakaanui Beach and removed the hook without harming RN44, which was later reported as “strong and healthy.”

Monk seals sometimes take a baited hook. If swallowed, the hook can be fatal to a monk seal.

The Coast Guard notes the Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world with an estimated population of less than 1,100.

The Coast Guard regularly works with NOAA to help protect marine mammals.


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