Coast Guard crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration transported a Hawaiian monk seal from Oahu to Kauai via helicopter Friday.
R1KU will eventually be reintroduced into the ocean after recovering from surgery that removed an infected right eye.
“The transport of this critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal showcases the multiagency efforts that are being coordinated to ensure this species is around for future generations,” said Eric Roberts, marine mammal response coordinator for the 14th Coast Guard District.
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world with an estimated population of 1,200. It is one of only two remaining monk seal species in existence.