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‘Kolohe’ the monk seal dies after battle with a parasitic disease

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 1:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Toxoplasmosis has claimed the life of another treasured Hawaiian monk seal.

The Marine Mammal Center announced that monk seal RW22, named ‘Kolohe,’ passed away at their care facility last week Wednesday.

Kolohe was brought to the care facility in early October. In addition to battling the parasitic disease, Kolohe was also being treated for swallowing at least two fishing hooks.

Kolohe the monk seal's life ended last week after battling a parasitic disease common among...
Kolohe the monk seal's life ended last week after battling a parasitic disease common among seals.(The Marine Mammal Center)

“All of us are deeply saddened about this unfortunate outcome but we find hope in knowing the valuable insights gained about how this deadly disease affects monk seals will have a positive impact on future patients,” The Marine Mammal Center staff said.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite carried by cats that impacts vital organs. Experts say it usually kills seals rather quickly, and Kolohe was only the second seal who lived long enough to start treatment.

For several weeks, veterinarians tried intensive medical treatments to battle the disease, and they say Kolohe regained some stamina and movement during the process. However it wasn’t enough to save him.

“Toxoplasmosis is the number one disease threat to recovery of these endangered animals. The more partners and local communities can work to address this issue, the better for monk seals and other native species in Hawaii affected by this disease,” said Angela Amlin, Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator at NOAA Fisheries. “We applaud our partners at the Center for their incredible efforts and are very grateful for their partnership and dedication to RW22 and the species.”

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