HONOLULU (KHON2) — Monk seal R5AY, also known as “Honey Girl,” was found dead on a Windward Oahu beach, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The monk seal was known for over 20 years. It rested on and gave birth to at least a dozen pups on Oahu and Kauai beaches.
NOAA fisheries received word about her death on Thursday, April 23.
State officials transported her body to Kualoa Ranch for burial, where a pule (blessing) was performed by a Hawaiian cultural practitioner.
Her cause of death is not apparent. However, leading causes of deaths of monk seals in the main Hawaiian island is toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by feral cats, and drowning when seals get caught up in illegal lay nets. Toxoplasmosis was the cause of death of two seals in 2020.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We are deeply saddened that Honey Girl, one of the most iconic representatives of her entire endangered native endemic Hawaiian species, will no longer grace beaches around O‘ahu. Her legacy calls for our collective respect and care for all our Hawaiian monk seals,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.