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NOAA: Monk seal was intentionally killed on West Oahu beach

NOAA is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the successful prosecution of those responsible for intentionally killing a Hawaiian monk seal on Oahu in March.

The agency said Malama was found dead March 12 at Ohikilolo beach, between Keaau Beach Park and Makua Valley.

Her cause of death was blunt force trauma.

“It is with great sadness that we report the suspected intentional killing of Hawaiian monk seal RQ76, also known as Malama,” NOAA said, in a news release Tuesday. “Malama was a seal close to many of our hearts.”

Hawaiian monk seals are among the world’s most endangered species with just 1,500 known individuals in the main Hawaiian islands. They’re protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Malama was born in June 2022 on Manana Island, a state seabird sanctuary. She was rescued last year on Oahu because she showed signs of malnourishment after weaning.

The Marine Mammal Center nursed her back to health and she was released back into the wild in January.

“After release, she was observed regularly in good body condition and exhibiting normal seal behavior,” NOAA said.

But that in March, the Hawaii Marine Animal Response got a report of a dead seal on the beach.

“Malama’s death hits us and our community particularly hard,” NOAA said.

Anyone with information on Malama’s death should call NOAA’s enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964.

To report a stranded marine animal or monk seal sighting, call the Marine Wildlife Hotline at 888-256-9840.

Source: Hawaii News Now