Endangered seal found on Hawaii beach has been shot dead

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal that was found dead on a beach in September had been deliberately shot in the head, officials said Tues...


An endangered Hawaiian monk seal that was found dead on a beach in September had been deliberately shot in the head, officials said Tuesday in the third intentional seal killing in 2021 on the same island.

The seal shot at Molokai, a sparsely populated island northwest of Maui, is the seventh intentional shot in the past decade, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said. Such murders are a big blow to a historic species with only around 1,400 surviving members.

The latest victim, a young woman known to researchers as L11, was found dead on the south shore of Molokai in September. The dead seal was reported to authorities by Dr Boki Chung, a local dentist.

Dr Chung found the seal on a beach where she walks her dogs. She later told a reporter that she was surprised to see a bruise around one of her eyes, suggesting someone had attacked her.

“Why would anyone do that?” She said, according to a report from Honolulu Civil Beat news site.

L11 died from an “intentional gunshot wound to the head,” the state Department of Lands and Natural Resources said on Tuesday. “It is high time that anyone with information about the culling of this seal and the others came forward,” said department chair Suzanne Case, said in a press release.

Two more Hawaiian monk seals that washed up on Molokai in April died of ‘blunt trauma’ according to NOAA. A total of 10 people have died this year, including two from reproductive complications, the agency said on Tuesday.

In other cases, the cause of death was inconclusive as the carcasses were heavily decomposed or had been washed away.

The species – named after a thick fold of skin on its neck that resembles a monk’s robe – is the only marine mammal found only in United States waters, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Adults are typically over 6.6 feet tall and weigh between 400 and 600 pounds.

Hawaiian monk seals are most endangered seal or sea lion species in the United States, according to the Marine Mammal Center, a nonprofit in Sausalito, California.

The species is also the only seal that evolved to live in the tropics, John Henderson, a retired NOAA researcher, said in a 2019 conversation with a colleague who was posted on the agency’s website.

“Staying cool can often be as much of a challenge as staying warm,” he said.

The estimated population of Hawaiian monk seals is about 1,400 and increased about 2% from 2013 to 2019, according to NOAA. Most of them live in a remote cluster of Hawaiian islands, atolls and shoals that extend over 1,200 nautical miles. Only about 300 live on Hawaii’s eight main islands, including Molokai.

The main causes of death in the population include toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by a parasite that is released into marine environments through cat droppings and trapping in fishing nets, according to NOAA.

Intentional killing is a major threat to population recovery in the main Hawaiian Islands, Angela Amlin, Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator at the agency’s Pacific Islands Bureau of Fisheries, said on Tuesday in a brief statement. .

NOAA said in September that six seal deaths on Molokai from 2021 that were under investigation at the time represented an unprecedented number of deaths in a nine-month period.

“Lots of seals found dead,” anonymous Hawaii Conservation Police investigator said in video from Molokai field survey that state officials downloaded in May. “I think the seals deserve better.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Endangered seal found on Hawaii beach has been shot dead
Endangered seal found on Hawaii beach has been shot dead
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