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Monk seal bites, injures U.S. wildlife staffer on Midway Atoll

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / JAN. 24

    A child watches a Hawaiian monk seal called Hoailona at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee has been bitten by an endangered Hawaiian monk seal while swimming at Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Megan Nagel said Tuesday that the incident happened on July 6 on Midway’s North Beach in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

The employee, who is not being named, was swimming in a stretch of ocean that was open to staff for recreational use. The area was adjacent to a closed beach where a mother monk seal was nursing her pup.

While in the water, the employee was bitten several times and is now recovering from her injuries on Midway. Staff access to all beaches has been closed until the end of the pupping season in response to the attack.

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