Hawaiian Monk Seals
(Mirror Daily, United States) The Hawaiian Islands are the home of a great number of animal species and will soon host one of the largest ocean reserves in the world. Until that happens, four malnourished monk seals have been found in the northern parts of the islands. Fortunately, specialists intervened in due time, and now the animals are safe.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spotted the four monk seals in the northwest parts of Hawaii. Two adults and two pups were showing signs of malnourishment, and this drew the researchers attention. They took the animals to the Marine Mammal Center, a hospital in Kona.
Specialists observed that one of the pups was almost two years old, while the other was five years old. The first one seemed to be weaned too early, and the five-year-old seemed to be extremely weak by the lack of proper nutrition.
Michelle Barbieri is a veterinarian at The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and she is in charge of the four monk seals. She stated the following, regarding their status health and the means through which they will get better:
“These animals will get around the clock care and monitoring. One of them is in critical condition. The others seem to be stable at this point, and they’re doing well and adjusting. We will basically be providing them with supportive care, nutrition, medication, and anything else that they may need over the course of several months that they’ll be with us.”
The Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) is listed as one of the endangered species in the world. One of its relatives, Caribbean monk seals, is already extinct. Saving pups is crucial for the survival of the species, as they are the most vulnerable. This is why researchers are doing their best whenever they can help the animals.
Another type of monk seal can be found in the Mediterranean. However, in Hawaii, the population of monk seals has an approximate number of 1000 individuals, which is alarming. Among the factors that threaten the animals are climate change and warmer waters, water pollution and other animals attacking them, as well as humans hunting them. Monk seals feed mostly on fish.
Authorities declared that the four malnourished monk seals would be taken back to their natural environment after the recovery at the Marine Mammal Center.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia