Monk seals rescued from Laysan Island stabilize at Ke Kai Ola

  • A. Hawaiian monk seals Akulikuli (left) and Maiapilo (right) rest in a transport carrier aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) research vessel Oscar Elton Sette. The two new patients now in rehabilitation at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kailua-Kona, are weaned pups rescued from Laysan Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The two pups are both suffering from malnutrition. Photo by Megan McGinnis © The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA permit 18786
  • C. Maiapilo, a weaned female Hawaiian monk seal pup, explores her new pen during rehabilitation at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kailua-Kona. Photo by Amy Rubenstein © The Marine Mammal Center, NOAA permit 18786
  • Akulikuli, a weaned male Hawaiian monk seal pup, explores his new pen during rehabilitation at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kailua-Kona. (Photo by Amy Rubenstein / The Marine Mammal Center)

KAILUA-KONA — Two endangered Hawaiian monk seals recently arrived at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kailua-Kona.

The two new patients, Maiapilo and Akulikuli, are weaned pups rescued from Laysan Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that were suffering from malnutrition.

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Their arrival at the hospital was delayed due to Hurricane Olivia. The NOAA research vessel, Oscar Elton Sette, that rescued the seals had to go into port at Pearl Harbor to seek shelter as the hurricane approached the islands. Once the storm had passed, Maiapilo, Akulikuli, and the accompanying researchers and caretakers set sail toward the Big Island.

“Both of these pups have had quite a harrowing journey due to Hurricane Olivia before they arrived at the hospital,” said Claire Simeone, hospital manager at Ke Kai Ola. “We are grateful to have many partners who reacted quickly to handle this unique situation and give these pups a second chance at life.”

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On arrival Sept. 13 at Ke Kai Ola, Maiapilo and Akulikuli joined two young patients already at the hospital – Sole and RK58.

The Marine Mammal Center’s team also monitors Hawaiian monk seal haul out activity on Hawaii Island, and manages rescue efforts for sick and injured seals reported to the hospital’s 24-hour hotline by calling 987-0765.

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