No sign of blunt force trauma found in necropsy Hawaiian monk seal Ho‘omau Lehua

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No sign of blunt force trauma was found during a necropsy of a Hawaiian monk seal pup found dead on O‘ahu.

RS48, female pup also known as Hoʻomau Lehua, was found dead June 12 on the North Shore. The less than 4-month-old pup was born Feb. 23 to mother RH48, or Lei Ola. As National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration veterinary staff continue their necropsy of the seal they say their findings will take time as they conduct further laboratory analysis in hopes of identifying a probable cause of death.

As is standard practice, law enforcement — in this case, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement — responded to the report of the dead seal. Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response collected RS48 and brought her to the NOAA facility on Ford Island.

Hoʻomau Lehua is the second seal to be found dead in the past three months. RQ76, also known as Malama, was found dead on March 12 on O’ahu. Officials with National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries say the animal was killed by blunt force trauma.


Malama was treated for malnutrition at Ke Kai Ola’s Marine Mammal Center on the Big Island in August 2022.

Anyone with information about Hoʻomau Lehua’s death is asked to contact NOAA’s Enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964. All monk seal sightings, injuries and strandings can be reported to the statewide NOAA Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 888-256-9840.


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