POSTED: 1:13 p.m. HST, Feb 3, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 7:04 p.m. HST, Feb 3, 2012
Federal marine wildlife officials have caught a Hawaiian monk seal that has been killing seal pups in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
The 400-pound male seal, known as "KE18" and caught on Midway Atoll Sunday, is being held at the Waikiki Aquarium, National Marine Fisheries Service spokesperson Wende Goo said this morning.
Goo said officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are looking at transferring the seal to facilities at the University of California-Santa Cruz, and bringing it back to Hawaii in 18 to 24 months.
"It's imperative that NOAA remove KE18 from the monk seal population to increase pup and juvenile survival," she said.
"While were moving forward with a plan, any number of things can derail the process and in the end it may be necessary to euthanize KE18. But NOAA is hopeful that it will find another option."
Goo said scientists know the seal has killed two pups and attacked 10 of 13 born last season at Kure.
Hawaiian monk seals are listed as an endangered species, and federal officials have been monitoring the population in an attempt to increase their numbers.