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Monk seal found dead on Kauai beach

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 10:43 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2013

A Hawaiian monk seal was found dead on a beach on Kauai’s west end Monday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It was the second seal death reported this year on Kauai. On March 10, the body of a young female seal was found in the Salt Pond Beach Park in Hanapepe.

Jamie Thomton, Kauai Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator for NOAA, said the seal found in March died of natural causes.

Monday’s death was a 400-pound adult male, identified as 1031, whose carcass was found near Pakala Village, Thomton said. 

A necropsy determined the seal died of natural causes.

“There was no immediate evidence of foul play,” Thomton told the Star-Advertiser.

Thomton said a security guard from nearby Niihau Ranch found the badly decomposed carcass on the state beach.

Thomton said the seal had been dead for at least 48 hours.

In February, the Coast Guard flew a juvenile monk seal to Oahu after the animal was found in a lethargic state near Mahukona on the west coast of the Big Island.

The juvenile seal, identified as RK68, died of injuries it received after swallowing a fish hook, a NOAA necropsy disclosed. An X-ray showed the hook had lodged in its esophagus and scar tissue forming around the hook was suffocating the seal.

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