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Posted: Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 9:28 AM HST

Monk seal dies after swallowing fishing hook

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) State officials say a Hawaiian monk seal that was flown from the Big Island to Honolulu for medical care died after swallowing a fishing hook.

Officials said Tuesday a necropsy by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the young seal may have been hooked for several weeks or months.

Scientists in Kailua-Kona initially had trouble diagnosing the seal in the field. So they flew him to Oahu to be examined at the Waikiki Aquarium

Officials say the death may have been prevented if the hooking had been reported earlier.

The Hawaiian monk seal is a critically endangered species. There are only 1,100 remaining and their population is declining 4 percent per year.

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