HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaiian monk seal known as RJ16 -- nicknamed Kahulu -- died Friday after struggling with an unknown illness.
NOAA officials say they brought the seal to monk seal treatment facility at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center on December 28 after he was seen floating listlessly on Christmas Day. The seal received intensive medical care as experts worked to determine what was wrong with the seal. Officials say despite their care, they were not able to save the seal.
Initial exams ruled out signs of physical trauma and signs that the seal ate a foreign object, like a fish hook. Officials say they believe the seal had some kind of severe infection, but they do not know what kind or the cause of the infection.
NOAA officials will continue running tests to determine why the seal became ill.