LIHUE — A Hawaiian monk seal found dead on Kauai’s Westside appears to have died of natural causes, according to Jamie Thomton of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“We did a thorough necropsy, did a full sweep of X-rays and found no foreign bodies, no fractures,” said Thomton, the Kauai Marine Mammal Response Coordinator for NOAA.
The seal was discovered Monday along the Kaumakani Coastline — near Pakala Village — by one of the Robinson family’s security guards.
“It was on the beach in front of (the) Robinson property, so Keith and Bruce Robinson helped us recover the carcass,” Thomton said.
Although foul play is not suspected, it is unlikely that NOAA will be able to pinpoint an official cause of death, according to Thomton.
“It was a healthy adult male and unfortunately it had been on the beach for a couple days, so sampling of tissues was limited because a lot of it had just decomposed to the point it wasn’t valuable,” he said. “It looks like natural causes, but unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be able to figure out exactly what natural cause got him.”
In a typical year, two or three seals are found dead along Kauai’s shoreline, according to Thomton. The seal discovered Monday is the third in the last eight months. All died of natural causes, he said.
The estimated 400-pound carcass was taken to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources base yard in Lihue.
After it is cremated, Thomton said the ashes will be taken out to sea as part of a blessing ceremony led by Hawaiian cultural practitioner Sabra Kauka.