It took several emails and phone calls before the decision was made to grab the eel and try pulling it out.
"There was only maybe two inches of the eel actually still sticking out of the nose, so it was very much akin to the magician's trick when they're pulling out the handkerchiefs and they keep coming and coming and coming," he said.
After less than a minute of tugging, a two-and-a-half-foot dead eel emerged from the seal's nostril.
Since then, Littnan said there have been at least three or four reported cases, and the most recent occurred this fall. In all the cases, the eels were removed successfully and the seals are "doing great," he said. None of the eels, however, survived. [...]
If monk seals could understand humans, Littnan said he has a message for them: "I would gently plead for them to stop."
Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.
"Teenagers call it 'eeling', and it's the latest drug craze sweeping the island."
"When I get that feeling, I want--nasal eeling..."
Their nasal airways normally stay closed when hunting underwater but they do have to surface periodically to breathe; when that happens, both nostrils usually flare open. If the type of fish they prefer to eat are gradually becoming more scarce perhaps they are now supplementing with with a greater percentage of eels? I could imagine one surfacing with writhing, panicked eel in its mouth and the moment those nostrils flare, down it goes looking to escape. Startled, the seal then lets go of the eel and because of the position, cannot easily get the thing back in its mouth.
it's putting the eal in seel.