Monk Seal Pup Playing With A Sharp Fishing Knife In Hawaii Serves As Reminder Not To Litter!

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Photo from Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

The recent observance of a Hawaiian monk seal playing with a bright orange object in its mouth was anything but cute.

As the scene unfolded, people watching the seal named Manu‘iwa, who was recently weaned from its mother, realized the pup was holding a knife in its mouth by its handle.

“There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife,” Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer who captured the incident on videotape noted in a statement. “It’s a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawaii’s beaches or in the ocean.”

DOCARE has been monitoring the pup’s health and growth along with staff from Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona.

According to the Marine Mammal Center, the population of Hawaiian monk seal, which has been in existence for more than 15 million years, has declined at a rate of three to four percent per year over the past decade, recently reaching a low of fewer than 1,100 left in existence.

Sadly, a newborn monk seal has only a one-in-five chance of surviving to adulthood, making unnecessary threats against them such as this even more critical to avoid.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Fisheries is requesting that people report the sighting of young monk seals, who are not to have human interactions so they can learn to be wild animals, to the following island’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator:

Oahu: 808-220-7802
Kauai: 808-651-7668
Molokai: 808-553-5555
Maui / Lanai: 808-292-2372
Hawaii Island – East: 808-756-5961
Hawaii Island West: 808-987-0765

As per NOAA, members of the public can always also “help by using responsible fishing practices and picking up marine debris and trash whenever they see it.”

People should always also call the Hawaii Marine Animal Hotline to report seal sightings or interactions with fishing gear at  888-256-9840

Help save lives of innocent animals and throw your trash in the can where it belongs!

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