Fish hook continues to torment monk seal


POSTED: Sunday, May 03, 2009

Scientists hoping to rescue an injured Hawaiian monk seal are waiting for the animal to come ashore so they can take a three-inch fish hook out of its mouth.

The seal, Kermit, has eluded officials for more than 10 days, said David Schofield, marine mammal response network coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Kermit's face is swollen and he appears lethargic, but he is still foraging, Schofield said.

Kermit, who usually travels between Rabbit Island and Barbers Point Beach Park, was named by volunteers after his coat that was once covered by algae, making him green.

Officials spotted Kermit yesterday in the waters off the Diamond Head side of White Plains Beach in Kalaeloa.

Early last week, scientists tried to chase Kermit out of the water with a net, but he eluded them.

“;It's at his discretion,”; Schofield said. “;We're waiting for him to be hauled up and resting on the beach to do our thing.”;

Freelance photographer Terry Reis, who frequents White Plains Beach and has taken photos of Kermit, sees the seal often hovering about 20 yards from shore.

He thinks the seal doesn't go ashore because of the pain from the hook when it gets on land.

“;He looks like he wants to come onto shore,”; he said. “;It's kind of sad.”;