Lost northern fur seal shows up thousands of miles away from home on a Hawaii beach

By Associated Press, Wednesday, August 1, 7:07 PM

HONOLULU — A seal that would normally live in waters around the Aleutian Islands and California has shown up thousands of miles away on a beach in Hawaii, officials said Wednesday.People found the northern fur seal resting on the sand near Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore. It was emaciated, underweight and weak.
Fur seals

Picture from ItsNature.org

It’s the first time on record that a wild fur seal has come to Hawaii, said David Schofield, a marine mammal response coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hawaii’s only native seal is the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Elephant seals have made their way over from California in the past, but only very rarely, Schofield said.

“We were all pretty surprised,” he said.

It’s not clear how the female visitor, a young adult, got so far south.

Some theorize it may have hitched a ride on a cargo ship or even rode over on some debris from Japan’s 2011 tsunami, but Schofield said both were unlikely. The seal may have wandered off and gotten caught in a strange current that brought her to the islands.

“The bottom line is we’ll never know,” he said.

NOAA officials took her to the Honolulu Zoo to be cared for and to prevent her from spreading any diseases to Hawaiian monk seals.

Read more at the AP…

Jim Caldwell
Redondo Beach
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About jw60sea

Jim Caldwell has over 26 years of experience in the public safety sector in occupations ranging from professional ski patrol, and ocean lifeguard to firefighter. Jim has worked for the Redondo Beach Fire Department for the last 22 years holding successively higher positions of responsibility. For the last six years, Jim has held the rank of Engineer with responsibility for driving and operating the Department’s Engines and Tillered Aerial Ladder Truck. Throughout his career, he has shown a dedication not only to public safety but also community service.
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