A Hawaiian monk seal killed Thursday on Kaua'i's north shore was a pregnant female who had previously given birth to four pups, according to NOAA Fisheries.
Witness accounts suggest the 600-pound monk seal, known to NOAA researchers as RK06, was shot to death, but federal officials would say only that the endangered marine mammal died as a result of "foul play."
A necropsy on the monk seal was conducted yesterday, and NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Wende Goo said no further details were being released because the killing is under investigation.
"Foul play" by humans also is blamed for the death of a 4-year-old male monk seal found dead on a Kaua'i beach April 19, according to Goo.
"We don't have enough information to link the two," she said.
The latest monk seal killing is particularly troubling because of the female's breeding history.
"She was an important part of the breeding community," Goo said.