Hawaiian Monk Seal R016 Update

January 30, 2018

Since her initial veterinary exam last Tuesday (Jan. 23), R016 ("Right Spot") has shown promising signs of healing. Dedicated HMAR volunteers and NOAA staff continue to monitor her. They've seen her swimming farther from her original site, as well as feeding and hauling out on shore (all part of good healthy seal behavior). On Monday (Jan. 29), a NOAA team went out to give R016 a follow-up dose of antibiotics. The team noted that she had decreased swelling around the wounded area and a generally healthy appearance.

R016 rests on an Oahu beach while a NOAA team noted positive signs that wounds (presumably from shark bites) were healing well.

January 25, 2018

On January 23, NOAA's monk seal emergency response team conducted a beachside health assessment for R016 (aka "Rightspot"), an adult female seal on O‘ahu. Over the weekend, Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) volunteers reported concerns that R016 was logging (floating listlessly), which can indicate health problems. When the team assessed her, R016 was robust, alert, and quite strong, but she had a substantial wound to her left armpit and one of the digits on that flipper. The wound appeared to be most likely from a shark bite and she was clearly in discomfort (logging and holding her left front flipper against her body). The NOAA team administered an injection of long-acting antibiotics and decided that allowing her to heal in the wild is the best approach at this time.

Left: The NOAA seal team enters the water to corral the seal to shore for an examination.
Right: R016 swimming in the water on O‘ahu.

NOAA staff and HMAR staff/volunteers will work together to monitor her carefully in the days or weeks ahead. If you encounter this seal on the beach or in the water, please keep your distance. She is still healing and is in discomfort. Giving her space will give her the best chance for recovery and will ensure your safety as well. Swimming with an injured wild animal can be dangerous. For more information about viewing guidelines, please visit the Hawaiian monk seal viewing guidelines page.