Hawaiian monk seals are endangered and closely monitored by NOAA scientists who are alarmed that the seals keep getting eels stuck really deep in their nostrils.
The scientists have removed "three or four" eels from juvenile monk seals' nostrils over the past two years, mostly in the last few months. The seals are fine. The eels died.
The scientists don't know how the eels got stuck up the seals' nostrils. Perhaps they swam up there after getting cornered in a coral reef, or possibly the seals ate them and barfed them up and got them stuck in their noses. They worry that the seals will not be able to keep water out of their lungs when diving -- leading to pneumonia -- or they will end up with rotting eels stuck in their heads.
Still, Littnan said it doesn’t seem possible that a “long, fat eel” would end up going through a seal’s nose rather than out of its mouth. The “most plausible” theory, he said, is that monk seal teenagers aren’t all that different from their human counterparts. Monk seals “seem naturally attracted to getting into troublesome situations,” Littnan said.
“It almost does feel like one of those teenage trends that happen,” he said. “One juvenile seal did this very stupid thing and now the others are trying to mimic it.”
Though no seals have died or been seriously affected by the eels, having a dead animal up their noses for any extended amount of time poses potentially adverse health impacts, said Simeone, director of Ke Kai Ola, a monk seal hospital in Hawaii run by the Marine Mammal Center.
‘Make better choices’: Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop [Allyson Chiu/Washington Post]
Scientists drilled into the Chixclub crater in the Gulf of Mexico to learn more about the end of the mesozoic era. They learned more than they expected, reports Katherine Kornei in The New York Times. The first day of the Cenozoic was peppered with cataclysms. When the asteroid struck, it temporarily carved a hole 60 […]
Get over it! Despite the mockers and complainers, and even attempts to make it illegal to perambulate while looking at your own damned phone, science concludes that the risks of it are negligible. As part of the mandated study, the DOT conducted an in-depth review of written crash narratives in the city between 2014 and […]
Typically, marine photography is done in rich, saturated color — the better to show off the riot of life beneath the waves. But the photographer Christian Vizl has done it in high-contrast black and white, producing eerily intense ways of re-seeing marine life. You can see the work on his site, and in his new […]
Your smartphone’s GPS is a modern necessity for some trips, but how do you use it safely? It’s been a problem ever since phones went mobile. A certain phone mount even shelled out the money for a commercial during the Big Game, so clearly there’s a market for the solution. Turns out there are a […]
There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading for fuel; absorbing the great ideas in nonfiction books so you can apply them in your own life. In today’s hectic pace, it can be difficult to find the time to do that reading – especially for the entrepreneurs and professionals who can benefit the most from […]
Breaking into the big leagues as a project manager isn’t done overnight, but there are principles that anyone can learn, and they’re applicable to nearly any business. No matter what your field, if there are multiple teams working toward a common goal, you’re going to need a roadmap. The Project Management Professional Certification Training Suite […]