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Hawaii island monk seal facility takes in pup found on Niihau

  • An abandoned monk seal pup named Kilo rested at her temporary home at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center's hospital for the critically endangered marine mammal. (Courtesy Julie Steelman, The Marine Mamma Center)

An abandoned monk seal pup found on Niihau Monday was the first from the main Hawaiian islands to be admitted to the Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hospital on Hawaii island.

The female pup named Kilo, which means "sassy" in Hawaiian, was found during a monk seal survey conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Michelle Barbieri, a veterinarian for the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program and the Marine Mammal Center, assessed and stabilized the pup — which was severely dehydrated, malnourished and likely anemic, but still showed a great amount of energy.

When Kilo arrived at Ke Kai Ola, veterinary staff and trained volunteers gave the her electrolytes through a stomach tube. She will continue to receive electrolytes several times a day.

Operations manager Deb Wickham said, “The tube feedings will start to include blended whole fish in the next 24 hours, as this pup is in dire need of calories. But we have to get her rehydrated first.”

The pup is in guarded condition but experts are optimistic that she will fully recover and be released into the wild in a few months, the mammal center said. 

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