A Hawaiian monk seal suffers injuries from a suspected dog attack

A Hawaiian monk seal suffers injuries from a suspected dog attack
Hawaiian monk seal RK58 explores his rehabilitation pen area at The Marine Mammal Center hospital and visitor center in Kailua-Kona, HI. (Source: Lauren Van Heukelem, The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An endangered Hawaiian monk seal on Kauai was airlifted to the Big Island after suffering injuries from a suspected dog attack.

The monk seal was transported to the Marine Mammal Center in Kailua-Kona on Feb. 16 after NOAA and DLNR staff and volunteers saw that the seal was in poor body condition due to large swelling on its head.

Center veterinarians noted that the monk seal was moderately underweight, lethargic and suffering from head, neck and flipper swelling due to infected puncture wounds.

After some assessments, veterinarians said that the seal’s puncture wounds were most likely the result of a dog attack and that the seal was struggling to recover from these injuries on its own.

Jamie Thomton, the Kauai Marine Mammal Response program coordinator said, “We are so grateful for the partnerships that allowed the seal to be rapidly rescued, transported and treated and we ask the public to please keep their dogs on leash while at the beach.”

Officials said that this seal’s injuries are a critical reminder that people should respect posted beach signage and adhere to leash laws to ensure the safety of marine mammals as well as the health of their pets.

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