HAWAIIAN MONK SEALS found the Hawaiian Islands 13-15 million years ago, well before human contact.
Now, their numbers hover around 1,000, and fewer than one in fi ve pups lives to adulthood.
Outside the Hawaiian Islands, their plight is largely unknown, but in Hawai‘i, scores of volunteers work to protect them. ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION , the Hawaiian monk seal population has fallen more than 60% over the past 50 years. Most of the Hawaiian monk seals live on the uninhabited northwest Hawaiian Islands; the remainder reside on the main isles.
Small MONK SEAL COLONIES have been established on Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. Numbering some 30-40 seals, they are the largest populations on the main Hawaiian Islands. Volunteers from KAUA‘I MONK SEAL WATCH PROGRAM monitor the seals — when you come across shoreline areas cordoned off by yellow-tape barriers, you’ll know a seal has hauled up, and volunteers are at work. Seals usually land on the beach to rest or to care for their young. It’s not unusual to see a seal, but KEEP YOUR DISTANCE , and never pass between a seal and the shoreline. When mama seals feel threatened, they have been known to attack. Stay 100 feet from basking seals, and report any seal harassment to the LOCAL POLICE DISPATCHER at 808-241-1711 or the NOAA MARINE MAMMAL HOTLINE at 888-256- 7840.