Monk seal exhibit reopens

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii monk seal exhibit is once again open at Waikiki Aquarium after undergoing a $180,000 renovation.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the renovation project, which began in late January, involved complete resurfacing of the swimming area’s concrete lining, newly resurfaced rocks, as well as a new filtration system and polished-up window.

Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter says it was “kind of patchwork repair.”

Only Hoailona, the monk seal, will be featured at the newly renovated exhibit. Rossiter says Maka Onaona (“gentle eyes”), the oldest Hawaiian monk seal in captivity at 34, is terminally ill and will not return on display, but will remain under good care behind the scenes.

Hoailona (“sign from the sea”) was abandoned by his mother at 2 days old. The male monk seal with impaired vision is now 10 years old.