A Hawaiian monk seal pup has been caught on camera playing with an orange knife in her mouth last Sunday, April 15.
The seal pup named Manu'iwa was spotted at a Hawaii Island beach by a Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer, according to KHON.
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) took to Facebook to share the video of the pup along with a long message.
They wrote: "Had it been something other than a sharp fishing knife perhaps the video would have been endearing? A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu'iwa recently weaned from its mother on a Hawai'i Island beach. Staff from Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) have been monitoring the pup's health and growth. Back to the knife."
What are monk seals?
The monk seal, which is one of two remaining species in the earless seal family, might go extinct very soon if not protected. The other species is the Mediterranean monk seal.
You can watch the video here.
Claire Simeone, director of Ke Kai Ola, stated: "Monk seal pups of Manuʻiwa's age are essentially toddler-like in their behavior, and aren't necessarily aware of the dangers of the objects they find in their environment. We are so grateful that our response volunteers were able to safely resolve this situation and help keep this young pup safe."
"There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife," said a DLNR officer, who caught the incident on camera. "It's a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawaii's beaches or in the ocean."