PHOTOS: Malnourished Hawaiian monk seals arrive at Kona hospital

KGO logo
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. He's is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center's Ke Kai Ola hospital.
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, is seen next to a healthy weaned pup.
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests in a carrier aboard the Oscar Elton Sette.
A prematurely weaned Hawaiian monk seal pup, known to researchers as VH24, is seen in a beach pen on Kure Atoll.
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan.
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan.
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, is restrained by a NOAA veterinarian so that he can be tube-fed a fish-mash formula aboard the Oscar Elton Sette.
Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. He's is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center's Ke Kai Ola hospital.
NMFS / NOAA permit 16632

KONA, Hawaii (KGO) -- Four malnourished endangered Hawaiian monk seals are now getting the help they need after being rescued from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The NOAA transported the monk seals to the Marine Mammal Center's monk seal hospital, Ke Kai Ola, in Kona on Wednesday, where they will receive treatment.

Two of the new patients are pups that were weaned too early, the center says. They say one is a yearling and the other is an extremely underweight 5-year-old.

RELATED: Rescuers free humpback whale from shark net

There are currently about 1,300 Hawaiian monk seals in the wild -- their population has been on the decline for decades.

Since opening two years ago, the Marine Mammal Center's experts at Ke Kai Ola have successfully rehabbed and returned 15 monk seals to the wild -- more than 1 percent of the species' total population.

Learn more about Hawaiian monk seals here.

Click here for more stories about animal rescues.