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Monk seal flown to Oahu for treatment has died

By Star-Advertiser staff & Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:03 p.m. HST, Feb 5, 2013

A sick Hawaiian monk seal that was flown from Kailua-Kona to Honolulu for medical care last week has died.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have scheduled a news conference this morning to give information on the seal’s death.

The seal was having trouble breathing on Friday and the Coast Guard flew the male seal to Oahu so it could be examined at the Waikiki Aquarium.

NOAA monk seal recovery coordinator Jeffrey Walters said scientists weren’t able to diagnose what was wrong with the seal in the field. 

The Coast Guard said safeguarding marine mammals is one of its missions. 

The Hawaiian monk seal is a critically endangered species. There are only 1,100 remaining and their population is declining 4 percent per year.

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