Video: Monk Seal Finds and Plays With a Discarded Knife

State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources reminds people trash can be dangerous to marine animals.


The video is cute initially. A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu‘iwa plays in pools off of a beach on the Big Island. But in a few seconds, observers spotted it with something orange in its mouth. It was a fishing knife.


“There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife,” said the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer who recorded the video.


Staff members from Ke Kai Ola, the hospital operated by the Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona, and DLNR officers have been monitoring Manu‘iwa since it was weaned from its mother. They were able to take the knife away once the pup dropped it. The monk seal is OK. But marine experts want to remind people to throw their trash away so it won’t endanger marine life.


Ke Kai Ola, which means “The Healing Sea,” opened in 2014, according to its website. The hospital and education center is dedicated to caring for injured or orphaned Hawaiian monk seals, as well as educating the public to “protect, care for and ensure the future of this endangered species.” Since its inception, Ke Kai Ola has treated and released 23 monk seals through Dec. 3 of last year.


If you see a Hawaiian monk seal, report it to NOAA. Representatives will want to know the date and time, size of the seal and identifying characteristics such as tags or scars, the seal’s behavior, photos and the location of the sighting which could include the island, beach name and even GPS coordinates.


O‘ahu: (808) 220-7802

Big Island: (808) 987-0765

Kaua‘i: (808) 651-7668

Maui/Lāna‘i: (808) 292-2373

Moloka‘i: (808) 220-7802


If an animal appears to be entangled or in trouble, call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840.


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