Seal pup spotted with knife; but all is OK

  • A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu‘iwa recently weaned from its mother on a Hawaii Island beach, was spotted recently playing with a discarded knife. (Courtesy of DLNR Facebook page)

A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu‘iwa that recentl weaned from its mother on a Hawaii Island beach, was spotted this weekend playing with a discarded knife.

Officials are using the opportunity to remind the public about safely disposing trash.


Staff from The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kailua-Kona and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) have been monitoring the pup’s health and growth.

On Sunday, the people observing the seal spotted it playing with a bright orange object in its mouth. As they watched the seal dive beneath near-shore rocks and come back up they realized Manu‘iwa was holding a knife in its mouth by its handle.

Eventually, the seal dropped the knife under the rocks and it was later retrieved.

Animal experts say that it’s critical for young seals not to have human interactions so they can learn to be wild animals, especially after they’ve weaned from their moms and are on their own.

“Monk seal pups of Manuʻiwa’s age are essentially toddler-like in their behavior, and aren’t necessarily aware of the dangers of the objects they find in their environment,” said Dr. Claire Simeone director of Ke Kai Ola. “We are so grateful that our response volunteers were able to safely resolve this situation and help keep this young pup safe.”

The center recommends “3 Simple Steps” to co-exist and ensure Manuʻiwa’s survival on her home island:



3. Respond – CALL 808-987-0765 to REPORT SIGHTINGS

If members of the public see Manuʻiwa in the wild, they are encouraged to call The Marine Mammal Center’s hotline (808) 987-0765 to report the sighting. Community members should not enter the water near a monk seal, even to remove a dangerous object, and should instead call the center’s experts immediately.

  1. Graystash April 18, 2018 5:58 am

    Is he in a gang ?? Will he try to mug me ?? Just because he a juvenile he can’t expect any breaks when he get pick up by Police !!

  2. KonaRich April 18, 2018 6:07 am

    Maybe just out picking Opihi.

  3. antifaHI April 18, 2018 6:58 am

    See what happened when there’s no positive father figure around…

  4. OLDWOLFE April 18, 2018 10:52 am

    Surprised they didn’t blame the cats!

    1. KonaLife April 18, 2018 2:33 pm

      I would blame the feral cats if he contracts taxoplamosis from feral cat feces and dies. NOAA, DLNR, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature have all identified feral cats’ feces as a major threat to our monk seal population…and our Nene population…and our Alala population. Oh, and our bird population, too. Good luck little seal!

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