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Hawaiian monk seal hospital officially opens

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 15, 2007Monk Seal Response Team was also on hand to cordon off the area when seals they dubbed Irma and Kermit came ashore at Queen’s Surf Beach in Waikiki in 2007.
    STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 15, 2007
    Monk Seal Response Team was also on hand to cordon off the area when seals they dubbed Irma and Kermit came ashore at Queen’s Surf Beach in Waikiki in 2007.

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii >> A new emergency room for endangered Hawaiian monk seals has officially opened on the Big Island.

The Marine Mammal Center held a blessing and grand opening celebration for its Hawaiian monk seal hospital on Wednesday.

The $3.2 million facility in Kailua-Kona is named Ke Kai Ola.

The hospital received its first patients in July when scientists brought in four malnourished seals they picked up during a research trip to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Veterinarians and trained volunteers nursed the seals back to health. The seals headed back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands on Sunday.

There are only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals remaining, and their population is declining about 3 to 4 percent per year.

The Marine Mammal Center is a California-based nonprofit veterinary hospital

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