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Rehabilitated Hawaiian Monk Seals Transferred Out of Kona

September 3, 2015, 5:56 PM HST
* Updated September 3, 5:57 PM
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Two Hawaiian monk seals are one step closer to being released into waters in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The United States Coast Guard transported the rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals from the Kona International Airport to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Thursday aboard the HC-130 Hercules airplane. It is part of the Coast Guard’s partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

“We sincerely appreciate the assistance the Coast Guard provides,” said David Schofield, program manager with NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Response program. “There are only 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left, so this helps with their recovery tremendously.”

Protecting marine mammals, including the Hawaiian monk seal, falls under one of the statutory missions of the Coast Guard, under its living marine resourcs mission.

The 14th Coast Guard district, which includes Hawai’i, features more marine monuments and sanctuaries than any other region in the country. There are four Marine National Monuments and two National Marine Sanctuaries.

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Two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals peek out from their carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane heading back to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Sept. 3. Coast Guard crews, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

Two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals peek out from their carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane heading back to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Sept. 3. Coast Guard crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Garth Booye, an aviation maintenance technician at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, ensures a carrier transporting two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals is properly secured in an HC-130 Hercules airplane. Coast Guard crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Garth Booye, an aviation maintenance technician at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, ensures a carrier transporting two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals is properly secured in an HC-130 Hercules airplane. Coast Guard crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

David Schofield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Mammal Health and Response Program Manager, checks on the status of two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from the Big Island to Oahu. Coast Guard crews working with NOAA transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

David Schofield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Mammal Health and Response Program Manager, checks on the status of two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from the Big Island to Oahu. Coast Guard crews working with NOAA transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

A rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seal peeks out from its carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane heading back to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. Coast Guard crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

A rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seal peeks out from its carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane heading back to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. Coast Guard crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported the seals from the Big Island to Oahu for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle.

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