Monk seal suffering potentially deadly cat-borne disease transported to Hawaii Island

Kolohe, the monk seal, rests on an Oahu beach before his transport.
Kolohe, the monk seal, rests on an Oahu beach before his transport.(NOAA)
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 8:45 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 8:48 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Marine Mammal Center in Kailua-Kona is caring for a Hawaiian monk seal with a potentially deadly disease spread through cat feces.

Officials said Kolohe, a 13-year-old male monk seal, is suffering from toxoplasmosis, malnutrition and other ailments. He had also ingested fishing gear.

The seal was spotted at an undisclosed Oahu beach on Oct. 4. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration worked with the Hawaiian Marine Mammal Response to find him. Two days later, the U.S. Coast Guard airlifted him to Hawaii Island.

According to officials, toxoplasmosis is one of the leading causes of death for the Hawaiian monk seal population and can cause brain infections and muscle tremors.

Veterinarians said his long-term outlook is unclear.

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