A Hawaiian monk seal has recovered after swallowing a fish hook.
Officials with NOAA Fisheries say that the 11-year-old seal was seen by a fisherman, who reported the incident thinking he might have caught the seal. NOAA praised the fisherman for his quick actions.
A team was able to safely remove the hook using endoscope technology over the Fourth of July weekend.
Michelle Barbieri, a Veterinarian for Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program said, “We’re still baffled by this. It’s really amazing that the size of the hook and the pointiness of the hook didn’t actually snag the stomach tissue or the esophagus as it was on its way out. It’s a real exciting time and it actually might set a new tone for what we can do for these animals in the future.”
According to NOAA, there are six to a dozen hook incidents across the islands every year.
Hookings can be dangerous to monk seals and can cause health issues or even death.