Why is this endangered Hawaiian monk seal pup wielding a knife?

Why is this endangered Hawaiian monk seal pup wielding a knife?

Outdoors

Why is this endangered Hawaiian monk seal pup wielding a knife?

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal pup was spotted playing with something orange along some rocks on the island of Hawaii last Sunday, and at first observers had a difficult time identifying the object.

But it soon became clear when the seal pup popped its head out of the water holding it in its mouth, by the handle.

“It’s a knife,” an officer of the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, who videotaped the incident, can be heard saying in the video.

More specifically, it was a “sharp fishing knife,” according to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Facebook post on Tuesday.

The Hawaiian monk seal pup is named Manu’iwa. It has recently been weaned from its mother on a Hawaii Island beach, according to the post.

Officials from DOCARE and Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona, have been monitoring the seal pup’s health and growth, and a recent check on the little guy revealed the dangerous side of litter.

“There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife,” the unidentified DOCARE officer said. “It’s a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawaii’s beaches or in the ocean.”

Endangered Hawaiian monk seal pup pops out of the water with a knife in its mouth. Photo provided by the Hawaii Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

The message is also clear to fishermen: Be extremely careful not to drop fishing knives into the ocean.

Fortunately, the seal pup was not injured, and officials managed to retrieve the knife after the seal dropped it into the rocks.

Hawaiian monk seals are the only seal native to Hawaii, and are the most endangered pinnipeds in the U.S. with an estimated population of 1,200 remaining, according to the Marine Mammal Center.

So losing one to a careless act would be tragic.

Photo provided by the Hawaii Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

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