KAILUA-KONA — Hawaiian monk seal Manuiwa appears to have dislodged a hook that had been spotted in her lip last week.
Officials with The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kailua-Kona said Monday it appears the seal “shook the hook on her own.” Staff confirmed on Sunday afternoon reports that the hook had been dislodged.
“It was the best thing that could have happened — she took care of it herself,” said Dr. Claire Simeone, hospital manager at Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital.
Staff from the center had been looking for the endangered monk seal since Nov. 5 after receiving reports she had been seen with a hook embedded in and mono-filament line trailing from her right cheek/lip area. Additional reports and photos of the hooked seal came in over the following days, prompting the center late last week to ask for the public’s help locating the mammal.
And, help the public did. Six reports came in, along with photos showing the seal with and without a hook and line in her cheek. Thanks to the timeliness of the reports, staff was able to reach the seal Sunday afternoon and confirm the hook and line were gone.
“We want to extend our gratitude to all the folks that really love Manuiwa, and pulled together to make sure she was OK,” said Simeone.
No intervention will be needed, said Simeone. However, 9-month-old Manuiwa does appear to have a small wound on her cheek.
“Monk seals are amazing healers, I don’t think that will cause her any issues, but we’ll keep an eye on it,” the doctor said, noting that Manuiwa otherwise is “looking great.”
Manuiwa was born Feb. 8 at Mahaiula Bay to RA20, granddaughter of Honey Girl, a well-known seal on Oahu identified as R5AY that’s raised numerous pups and even inspired a book. Manuiwa is identified as RK26.
She is the first successful weaning of a monk seal pup on Hawaii Island since 2013 when two seals were successfully weaned. The first was Kamilo, a male born in May, and the second, Keokea, a male born in November. Keokea tragically died about eight months later after ingesting a fishing hook. Kamilo at last report was doing well.