Maui News

Another monk seal found dead on Oʻahu

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Endangered Hawaiian monk seal pup RS48, also known as Hoʻomau Lehua. Credit: Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response

Wildlife and enforcement officials have reported yet another monk seal death on Oʻahu. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement responded to a report of a young monk seal, identified as RS48, and also known as Hoʻomau Lehua.

The seal was found dead on June 12, 2023, on the North Shore of Oʻahu. NOAA officials say the cause of the seal’s death is currently unknown.

Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response collected RS48 and brought her to NOAA’s facility on Ford Island.


“We are conducting a post-mortem examination and will share more information as available,” NOAA officials said.

Second seal death in recent months

The incident comes on the heels of a separate report last week in which NOAA officials said a juvenile Hawaiian monk seal, identified as RQ76 (also known as Malama), was most likely intentionally killed a few months ago on Oʻahu. The agency reports that initial findings of an investigation show the cause of death in that incident was blunt force trauma.

Malama was reportedly rescued on Oʻahu last year because she was significantly malnourished after weaning. After successful rehabilitation, NOAA reports she was released back on Oʻahu in January 2023. After release, she was observed regularly in good body condition and exhibiting normal seal behavior, according to the agency. NOAA reports that on March 12, 2023, Malama was found deceased at ʻŌhikilolo, between Keaʻau Beach Park and Mākua Valley, on Oʻahu.


Anyone with information regarding the death of this seal, is asked to contact NOAA’s Enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964.

The agency advises the public to report all monk seal sightings, injuries, and strandings to the statewide NOAA Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 888-256-9840.


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