Maui News

Sixth Monk Seal Death on Moloka’i Prompts Investigation

September 23, 2021, 1:46 PM HST
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DOCARE officer at west Moloka‘i (May 26, 2021) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

An investigation has been launched into an unprecedented number of Hawaiian monk seal deaths on the island of Moloka‘i this year. The effort is being conducted by the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.  

This comes following the death of a young female seal found dead on the south shore of the island on Sunday, Sept. 19. The seal was identified by a temporary bleach mark on her side, as “L11,” one of the pups born on the island in 2020. 

There have been six seals found dead on Moloka‘i this year.

The carcass of L11 was sent to  O‘ahu and is currently frozen as COVID-19 conditions in Hawai‘i preclude NOAA Fisheries from conducting an immediate post-mortem examination. An exam will be conducted as soon as possible. 

The joint federal and state investigation into the latest death and the others is continuing and anyone with information is urged to call NOAA/OLE at 800-853-1964 or the DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR or use the free DLNRTip app. Reports can be anonymous. 

Live seal in West Moloka‘i (May 26, 2021) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

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