A Hawaiian monk seal pup decided it would be both endangered and dangerous by grabbing a discarded knife in its mouth.
Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) are officially endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It's estimated only about 1,400 of the creatures remain in the wild, with the marine mammals under pressure from human activity, ocean pollution, and natural predation by sharks. At least one of the distinctive “earless seals” isn't going down without a fight... and this tough guy's only a kid!
“Manu'iwa”, as he's been dubbed by staff from Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona, has been under observation by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) since being weaned from his mother. His natural curiosity, however, has gained him a splash of internet fame.
As can be seen in this video taken by Hawaii DNLR staff on Sunday, April 16th of 2018, Manu'iwa is exploring the rocky shoreline when he grabs an orange-handled knife in his mouth. No doubt the knife handle's dayglo hue attracted Manu'iwa's attention.
“There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife,” stated the DOCARE officer who recorded the video. “It's a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawai'i's beaches or in the ocean.” Manu'iwa gets a pass here – he eventually dropped the knife under the rocks where it was later retrieved by DNLR staffers. One would hope the sharks (or the Jets, for that matter) don't hear about this lest a marine arms race ensue.