The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state are investigating the suspicious death of a Hawaiian monk seal on the northeast coast of Kauai.

In cooperation with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Humane Society of the United States has posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for this latest monk seal death.

The young female seal (RF58) was found dead from blunt force trauma at a beach in Anahola on Nov. 30, according to a DLNR news release. She was born on June 28, 2014 on Kauai’s northeast coast.

RF58 was the daughter of a well-known seal (RH58, or “Rocky”) who spends most of her time on Oahu, but usually pups on Kauai. She and her mother were victims of a dog attack in July 2014 that killed another pup. After developing abscesses (i.e., infection) from the dog bites, RF58 was treated by a veterinarian and recovered, the news release stated.

monkseal

The Hawaiian monk seal RF58 is seen here with her mother at Waipake Beach on Kauai.

DLNR

According to a preliminary post-mortem report from the Marine Mammal Center and NOAA Fisheries’ Conservation Medicine Officer, the seal likely didn’t die immediately, but “from complications associated with massive trauma and internal bleeding.”

Killing a monk seal is a felony. A conviction can lead to five years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines. It’s also against federal law, and that could add more fines and jail time.

Anyone having information related to these deaths should call the NOAA OLE hotline at 1 (800) 853-1964 or Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 1 (855) DLNR-TIP or 643-DLNR.

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