Officials: 3 monk seals found dead on Oahu


HONOLULU (AP) — Officials are investigating the causes of death for three monk seals that were found on Oahu in the span of one week.

An adult female seal identified as RK60 was found floating offshore on Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said in a statement.

The seal had previously been sighted on May 2, but reported to be in good condition.

Officials believe she may have been “floating listlessly” or logging in Kaneohe Bay days before she was discovered lifeless.

“This logging behavior can be a symptom of a sick seal,” officials said. “Reports of this behavior did not reach NOAA until after RK60 died, but more timely reporting may have given NOAA a chance to intervene and help her.”

On Wednesday, a female pup was found in Laie, and an adult female seal identified as RT10 or Ua Malie was found Thursday in Kahuku.

She is believed to have been the pup’s mother.

Post-mortem exams have been conducted, although the bodies’ decomposition limited any definitive conclusions that could be drawn.

Officials think the three deaths are unrelated and don’t appear to be suspicious.

“There were no invert signs of trauma, fish hook ingestion, or entanglement, but we still don’t know what the ultimate cause was,” said Angela Amlin, the organization’s Hawaiian monk seal recovery coordinator.

Lab results are expected to be completed in the coming weeks to determine the exact causes of death.

Officials are urging the public to report monk seal sightings so their health can be tracked.