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Coast Guard, NOAA Transports Two Rehabilitated Hawaiian Monk Seals

  • PO2 Garth Booye, an aviation maintenance technician, ensures a carrier transporting two rehabilitated seals is properly secured in an HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
    PO2 Garth Booye, an aviation maintenance technician, ensures a carrier transporting two rehabilitated seals is properly secured in an HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
  • A rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seal peeks out from its carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
    A rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seal peeks out from its carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
  • Crew members from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point offload two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals from an HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
    Crew members from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point offload two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals from an HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
  • Two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals peek out from their carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
    Two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals peek out from their carrier during a flight in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
  • David Schofield, NOAA Marine Mammal Health and Response Program Manager, checks on the status of two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals during a flight. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)
    David Schofield, NOAA Marine Mammal Health and Response Program Manager, checks on the status of two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals during a flight. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO2 Tara Molle)

HONOLULU — Coast Guard crews, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported two rehabilitated Hawaiian monk seals from the Big Island to Oahu, Thursday for future release back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, received the seals at Kona International Airport, Kailua-Kona, Thursday morning.

"We sincerely appreciate the assistance the Coast Guard provides,” said David Schofield, NOAA Marine Mammal Health and Response Program Manager. "There are only 1,100 Hawaiian Monk Seals left so this helps with their recovery tremendously."

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. Part of the true seal family, they are one of only two remaining monk seal species.

Safeguarding marine mammals falls under the Coast Guard's living marine resources mission, one of the service's 11 statutory missions. The nation's waterways and their ecosystems are vital to the country's economy and health. This includes ensuring the country's marine protected species are provided the protection necessary to help their populations recover to healthy, sustainable levels.

The Coast Guard partners with NOAA on many living marine resources missions in Hawaii to protect endangered marine mammals including humpback whales. Operation Kohola Guardian involves coordinated joint Coast Guard, NOAA and State of Hawaii patrols of the National Marine Sanctuary during the peak Humpback Whale season months of January through March.

The 14th Coast Guard District is home to four Marine National Monuments and two National Marine Sanctuaries, more than any other region in the United States.

For more information on the Coast Guard's many ongoing missions protecting Hawaii's marine resources throughout the year contact the 14th District's Public Affairs Office at 808-535-3230.

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