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Speared monk seal found, helped at Rabbit Island

January 31, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii authorities say an endangered Hawaiian monk seal was found near Oahu with a spear in its head.

Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila said Wednesday that the department was investigating whether someone intentionally or accidentally speared the animal.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that state conservation officials helped dislodge the spear from the 1-year-old female seal at Rabbit Island on Tuesday. The seal swam away afterward. Officials say the wound appears to have been superficial.

Hawaii News Now reported that the animal is known as RL-12 and was born last June.

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



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