Photo story: Rescued seals make it home for the holidays
Three monk seals rehabilitated for malnourishment are now back in the wild, in time to make a fresh, healthy start in the new year.
NOAA Fisheries, in partnership with The Marine Mammal Center and U.S. Coast Guard, rescued the young malnourished seals from Hawaiian beaches during the spring and summer and took them to Ke Kai Ola, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital offsite linkand rehabilitation facility in Kona.
The move back to their natural habitat came just in time for the holidays. The hospital has rehabilitated 23 monk seals since it opened in 2014, a success story as scientists work to recover this endangered species.
We present to you their story, in photos:
NOAA honored The Marine Mammal Center with a Species in the Spotlight Hero Award during the Year of the Monk Seal. The award recognized Ke Kai Ola Hospital for its efforts to promote the conservation of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
What you can do: Help keep the future of Hawaiian monk seals bright by staying a safe distance away from them and doing your part to keep the beaches you visit as clean as possible.
All NOAA Fisheries photos were taken using a special research permit.