- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - A young Hawaiian monk seal pup found abandoned during a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration survey of Niihau is being treated at a center on the Big Island.

The pup was transported Monday to The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola facility in Kailua-Kona, West Hawaii Today reported (https://bit.ly/1gbjvBx).

Named Kilo, which means “sassy” in Hawaiian, the pup is being treated for malnourishment.

NOAA officials said she was emaciated and likely would have died without help.

“It’s a really good thing that the team was there to find this seal. She was in dire need of supportive care and would not have made it much longer in the wild,” said Michelle Barbieri, a veterinarian for the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program and The Marine Mammal Center.

Ke Kai Ola staff are rehydrating the pup and giving her electrolytes through a stomach tube. Soon the feeding tube will include fish, but dehydration was the initial concern.

“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,” said Deb Wickham, operations manager at Ke Kai Ola. Blood samples will be collected and analyzed Thursday.

There are currently only about 1,100 monk seals left in Hawaii, making all female seals important to help ensure the future of the species. Ke Kai Ola has rehabilitated eight monk seals in its first year of operation. Six of those seals have been successfully returned to the wild and the other two are scheduled for release this weekend.


Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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