Seal Survives Surgery

A team examines a Hawaiian monk seal prior to surgery to remove a fishing hook.
A team examines a Hawaiian monk seal prior to surgery to remove a fishing hook.

A team of surgeons says a Hawaiian monk seal that swallowed a fishing hook should survive.

The seal underwent a five and a half hour long operation Wednesday at the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe.

Experts from Hawaii and the mainland operated on the 500 pound monk seal.

They say getting the hook out of the seal was not an easy task.

Surgeons say they had to cut through the seal's skin, blubber, muscle and then into his stomach to reach the hook.

"We brought the stomach up and out of abdomen opened it up and I was able to reach up inside and feel the hook," said Veterinarian Robert Braun.

One member of the surgical team flew in all the way from California to help with the complex procedure.

"This is the longest surgical procedure we've done on a seal and for it to be a hawaiian monk seal, it's pretty special," said California Seal Expert Marty Haulena.

Medics will be keeping a close eye on the seal Wednesday night.

If all goes well the seal could released in about two weeks.

The Coast Guard transported the seal to Oahu from Kauai Friday.

Back on Kauai, experts are still looking for another 'hooked' monk seal.

He was last seen in the Poipu area last week.

If you see the seal, you're asked to call the 24-hour marine mammal emergency hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

Hawaiian monk seals are an endangered species.