Feds defer plan to move monk seals to main isles

Published On: Mar 01 2013 05:26:42 PM HST

HONOLULU -

Federal officials are temporarily giving up a plan to boost survival rates for juvenile Hawaiian monk seals by moving a few of them from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the Main Hawaiian Islands each year.

The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed the idea two years ago to help save a critically endangered species that's declining at an annual rate of 4 percent.

But the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program's lead scientist said Friday officials need prepare more before following through with the plan.

Charles Littnan says one way to prepare is to spread the word that people should never feed seals because this encourages them to beg for food.  He also wants people to call the agency when seals do things like steal fish or get on boats.

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