Hooked Hawaiian monk seal found and saved - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hooked Hawaiian monk seal found and saved

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MOKULEIA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

[Updated Version]

A young Hawaiian monk seal fighting for her life has been saved.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials successfully removed a huge hook that has been lodged in her throat for four days.

"Luana" was on the verge of death when they found her.  She swallowed a four-inch hook.

Although the worst is now over, experts say she is not out of the woods yet.

"It was a much larger hook than normal ones that we deal with. So she was truly in a life-threatening situation," said Charles Littman, lead scientist at NOAA's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program.

The one year old swallowed it on Saturday off Kaena Point.

The fisherman saw it happened and called for help right away.

Since then, NOAA officials and volunteers have been searching diligently to find her to save her life.

"We knew that she swallowed a hook. We didn't know…was it in her mouth? Was it in her throat? Was it in her stomach? The throat and the stomach being very bad for a seal. So we were basically in a race against time," Littman said.

They spotted her in Mokuleia Wednesday morning around 10:30.

They used fencing material to gently haul her in and carefully put her in a cage for treatment.

Exclusive video shows surgeons as they delicately removed the hook.

It wasn't long before clapping and cheering was heard.  

"This is more than your usual de-hooking.  So it's incredibly great.  We all cheered when it came out.  It isn't every day you get to actually save an animal," said Littman.

Harming a Hawaiian monk seal is illegal.

But in this case, Littman said the fisherman did the right thing.

He said the fisherman tried to cut as much of the line as possible to prevent her from becoming entangled.

"It's a perfect example. The seal is alive because we knew she had swallowed something because they let us know."

There are only 150 to 200 Hawaiian monk seals left in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Littman says each year about 12 of them are hooked.

So saving a seal like Luana is all the more special.

"It's always a highlight to save a seal.  But to save a young female who is the future of the species and hopefully in three years or so be having babies of her own...it makes it all the more special."

[original story]

A Hawaiian monk seal accidentally hooked by a fisherman off Oahu has been found and saved.

"Luana" was located in Mokuleia around 10:30 Wednesday morning.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials transported her to their Vet Lab at Ford Island.

That is where they removed the large hook that was lodged in her throat.

Luana swallowed a fisherman's hook off Kaena Point on Saturday.

Charles Littman, lead scientist at NOAA's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, said the fisherman tried to cut as much of the line as possible to prevent her from becoming entangled.

Littman said the fisherman did the right thing by reporting it right away.

Volunteers and NOAA staff members have been looking diligently and waiting for the seal bleached "N-58" to haul out, or come out of the water to rest.

NOAA officials want to thank the public for their help in finding her. 



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