Archive for the ‘3CX’ Category

Monk Seal Monday #40: NG00

Often, when an unknown Hawaiian monk seal turns up on Kauai’s shoreline, it’s assumed to have ventured over from Niihau. Very few monk seals from Niihau have been flipper-tagged, so there’s really no telling. But a seal known as NG00 has been flipper-tagged, and his tag is black with light-colored lettering.

In May 2016, juvenile NG00 popped up on a Kauai beach with a fish hook in his mouth. With NOAA approval, a trained team captured him and removed the hook.

In September 2017, the public reported another monk seal with a fish hook in his mouth. The photos resembled NG00.

Then, in early January of this year, NG00 was sighted on a west side Kauai beach, and a team responded to find a fish hook (but no trailing line) stuck in the left corner of his mouth. The bad news was NG00 was hauled out on rocks–not a good location for capture. The good news was that the location of the hooking was not life-threatening. The decision was to wait until he hauled up in a safe place before intervening.

Later in January, NG00 was reported on Niihau.

He reappeared on Kauai in April, still sporting the hook in the left corner of his mouth. Even so, he was in good body condition, indicating the hook was not hampering his ability to feed. Once again, his chosen haul-out location was rocky and not safe for capture.

NG00 wasn’t reported on Kauai again until late November. This time, he was on a sand, hauled out next to another seal (3CX). The circle hook was still lodged in his cheek, and he was still in good body condition. But NG00 had also recently molted and, therefore, it was determined he would not be captured. When monk seals go through their annual molt, they spend more time on the beach resting while the top layer of skin and fur along with it falls out in patches than they spend foraging. Molting eats up energy stores, so the weeks leading up to and after a molt are usually considered hands-off.

However, in a couple weeks, if NG00 happens to haul out in a safe location, NOAA will consider intervening to remove the hook. So, in the coming weeks, if you see a freshly-molted juvenile monk seal with black flipper tags and a fish hook in his lower lip, please call the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui at 808-651-7668.


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