Hawaiian monk seal gets eye removed in surgery

HONOLULU (AP) — Veterinarians have removed the infected eye of a young, underweight Hawaiian monk seal during surgery at the Honolulu Zoo.

Federal officials say the 1-to-2 year-old juvenile found on Niihau was losing weight because it couldn't feed itself.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1kD7Sno ) reported the seal has shown a great appetite since the surgery was performed Wednesday.

Marine Mammal Center conservation medicine veterinarian Dr. Michelle Barbieri says the 95-pound animal was so thin her hips and spine were becoming visible.

A Coast Guard C-130 flew the seal identified as R1KU to Oahu as part of a regular training flight.

Bariberi says it appears something punctured the seal's eyeball. The seal's lower eyelid was also cut. Doctors don't know whether humans injured the seal.

Hawaiian monk seals are a critically endangered species.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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