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Hawaiian Monk Seal “L-11” shot to death, necropsy determines

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Monk Seal L-11

L11 snoozes on the sand at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

KAUNAKAKAI, Hawaiʻi (KITV4)—A post-mortem examination of the Hawaiian Monk seal known as “L-11”, who was found dead on the shores of Molokaʻi on Sept. 19, 2021, revealed that an intentional gunshot killed the endangered animal.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, L-11 was a juvenile female born on Molokaʻi in 2020, identifiable by a temporary bleach mark on her side.

The necropsy, conducted by NOAA, was initially delayed due to COVID-19 conditions. However, the examination positively determined that “severe, lethal trauma from a bullet fragment” caused L-11’s death.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) labeled this is the third intentional Monk Seal slaying in 2021 on Molokaʻi alone.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said that this incident is currently under investigation, and called for the public’s assistance.

“It is past time for anyone who has information on the killing of this seal and the others to step forward. Earlier this year many people were outraged when a visitor slapped a seal on the back, and we trust the level of indignation we saw associated with that incident will be exceeded by the despicable shooting of seal L11 and the others taken by human hands” Case said.

NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and the DLNR are urging anyone with information about deaths of Hawaiian Monk Seals to contact the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964 or the DOCARE hotline at 808-643-DLNR (3567) or via the DLNR Tip app. The intentional killing of a monk seal is considered both a state and federal crime. Rewards may be issued to individuals who provide information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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