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Hawaiian monk seal pup from Mānana Island transported for critical care

Hawaiian monk seal pup
Lauren Van Heukelem
/
The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA
RQ76, a weaned female Hawaiian monk seal pup, rests in her rehabilitation pen at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kailua-Kona. During the seal’s initial critical care period, the center’s veterinary team noted that RQ76 was quiet but alert.

The Marine Mammal Center's Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kailua-Kona admitted an endangered Hawaiian monk seal suffering from malnutrition.

The female pup named Malama was found on Mānana Island — also known as Rabbit Island — off the coast of the eastern end of Oʻahu.

“Malama was small for her age measuring at just 79 cm girth. That’s critical information because what we've seen is that pups who wean at less than 90 cm girth have essentially no chance of surviving to the next year,” said Dr. Michelle Barbieri, lead scientist for NOAA’s Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program.

Malama was transported to NOAA's Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu for triage before being transported to Ke Kai Ola.

She is currently in stable condition after a diet of fish smoothies ingested through a feeding tube. She will transition to eating whole fish as she gets stronger and gains more weight.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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