A Hawaiian monk seal has been released in good health after her second rescue by a marine mammal hospital, officials said.
The juvenile seal designated RH38 was recently released into the waters of Kauai, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.
The release marked the end of the seal's second rehabilitation at Ke Kai Ola monk seal hospital in Kailua-Kona in the past two years.
The seal has a tracking tag attached to her back and appears to be doing well, said officials at the hospital operated by the Marine Mammal Center.
"RH38's recovery is an incredible success story that was full of medical complexities and highlights the importance of our ongoing partnerships to help save this species," said Shawn Johnson, the center's vice president of veterinary medicine and science.
RH38 was hospitalized in August 2017 and treated for malnutrition and a heavy parasite load, officials said.
During the second rehabilitation beginning in March she was treated for serious ailments including trauma, pneumonia, corneal damage, and multiple organ infections due to sepsis.
In April, RH38 became the first seal to undergo a CT scan at North Hawaii Community Hospital. The scan found an infection in the back flippers that spread to her bloodstream and was believed to have been caused by trauma.
The Marine Mammal Center partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to care for ill or malnourished monk seals. NOAA estimated about 30% of monk seals have been saved by conservation efforts.
"For an endangered marine mammal like the Hawaiian monk seal, the release of every individual is critical to help boost the overall population," Johnson said.