Toxoplasmosis: Death of monk seals
Officials with the Hawai‘i Departments of Health (DOH) & Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) say that the three tragic deaths of endangered Hawaiian monk seals on O‘ahu due to toxoplasmosis is very sad and could have been entirely preventable.
Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “The only thing certain about toxoplasmosis is that there are far more cases in humans and more deaths in seals, dolphins, native birds and other animals today than are recognized and reported. Since cats are the only animal that transmit the disease, it only makes sense that reducing the number of feral cats will reduce the risk of infection and serious illness or death”.
In addition to preying on native wildlife, cats pose a significant health risk to people, marine wildlife and birds. Feeding cats at state parks, boat harbors and other coastal areas increases the risk of transmission because the cysts don’t need to travel very far to get into the ocean.
With only an estimated 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals still in existence, we simply cannot afford to lose even one of these critically endangered mammals to a disease that is preventable.