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Official looking into case of monk seal speared at Rabbit Island

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 04:26 p.m. HST, Jan 30, 2013

Authorities in Hawaii are investigating the spearing of an endangered monk seal found on Rabbit Island.

The 1-year-old female seal had a three-pronged spear lodged in her head when found by state conservation officials Tuesday afternoon, said William Aila, chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Aila, speaking at a news conference this afternoon, said the wounds were apparently superficial and that the seal swam away after officials helped dislodge the barb from her head.

Aila said his department and federal officials were investigating whether the spearing was intentional or accidental.

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Fred01 wrote:
Is it possible that the seal was speared in self defense?
on January 30,2013 | 03:55PM
RingRing wrote:
Very possible! Monk seals are known to sometimes get very aggressive with spear fishermen and their catches. Also, any reasonably proficient spearo could have buried the spear deep into the skull and brain of the animal instead of what looks like a superficial, one prong poke along the flesh on the top of the head. If the diver was harassing or intentionally harming the seal it is totally uncalled for and criminal, but I can not see that as being the case.
on January 30,2013 | 04:50PM
tunaluvr wrote:
I believe this is in self defense. The protection of monk seals here as been an injustice as they are trained to intermingle with the people and there are many cases of the monk seals biting or harassing the divers out there. Just the media doesn't talk about this and incidents like this isn't being told by the government. It's always made to make the fisherman at fault.
on January 30,2013 | 07:15PM
famlb wrote:
Rabbitt Island is a State Seabird Sanctuary—home to over 10,000 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, 80,000 Sooty Terns, 20,000 Brown Noddys, 5-10 Bulwer's Petrels, and 10-15 Red-tailed Tropicbirds, and numerous Hawaiian Monk Seals. It is illegal to land on the islet without permission from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources. Unless the person(s) had permission to land on the island, they were breaking the law in more ways than one.
on January 30,2013 | 09:28PM
64hoo wrote:
you don't know if the seal was on rabbit island when it was speared it could have been speared somewhere else and swam to rabbit island the diver could have thought it was an ulua when he three pronged it..
on January 30,2013 | 10:37PM
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