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Hawaiian monk seal hospital gets its first patients

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / Dec. 27A monk seal at White Plains Beach in Ewa Beach.
    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / Dec. 27
    A monk seal at White Plains Beach in Ewa Beach.

Four malnourished Hawaiian monk seals from remote atolls northwest of Hawaii’s main islands are receiving emergency care at a new seal hospital in Kailua-Kona.

The National Marine Fisheries Service picked up the seals during a recent research trip to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Officials expect to take the seals back to the northwestern islands after the animals have fattened up during a month-and-a-half of feeding.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program lead scientist Charles Littnan says two of the seals are recently weaned pups weighing only about 70 pounds. A healthy seal that age would weigh at least 100 pounds and possibly more than 200 pounds.

The seals are the first patients for the recently opened Hawaiian monk seal hospital.

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