Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Eels stuck in endangered monk seals’ noses turning into unusual trend

Image NOAA FISHERIES  BRITTANY DOLAN Image NOAA FISHERIES BRITTANY DOLAN
Doris Mccormick | 07 December, 2018, 21:56

Endangered Hawaiian monk seals are facing a unusual new threat, on top of the usual challenges from disease and becoming caught in fishing nets.

Monk seals nose around in coral reefs, root around in the sand, and flip over 50-lb.

It's one thing to get something stuck up your nose, it's a whole other story when you've got nothing but a set of flippers to try and get it out.

According to the final post in this saga, researchers were able to trap the seal and extract a 60cm-long goddamn eel from its nose, noting that it "was surprising as only about 10cm were hanging out" of its nose before extraction.

A picture of a monk seal with an eel up its nose was shared this week by a Hawaii-based division of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). "In all cases the eel was successfully removed and the seals were fine".

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Monk seal researcher Charles Littnan, division director of the protected species division, said this is the third or fourth case scientists have observed of a seal with an eel in its nose.

'We have reported on this phenomenon before which was first noted a few years back, ' the team wrote in a Facebook post.

However, the agency says it has managed to save up to 30 percent of the monk seals in the current population, cutting the rate of population decline by half. "We don't know if this is just some unusual statistical anomaly or if we will see more eels in seals in the future", NOAA said.

Baffled researchers have no idea how the seal (or the eel) found itself in this 'slippery situation, ' though they suspect it has something to do with the way the mammals hunt. Alternatively, the seal could have swallowed the eel and regurgitated it so that the eel came out the wrong way. Also, seals' nostrils close automatically when the animals go under water, and having an eel in there could have hindered that process, closing off an all-around great day for the seal with some water up the nose.

Good news, though, at least for the seal. "All the seals were released and haven't shown any issues from the incidents". And reader - for the love of god - if you are eating, please stop reading now.

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