Spot a Monk SealKaua‘i

HAWAIIAN MONK SEALS found the Hawaiian Islands 13 to 15 million years ago, well before human contact.

Now, their numbers hover around 1,000, and fewer than one in five pups lives to adulthood.

Outside the 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 percent over the past 50 years. Most of the Hawaiian monk seals live on the uninhabited northwest Hawaiian Islands; the remainder reside on the main islands.

Small MONK SEAL COLONIES have been established on Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. Numbering some 30 to 40 seals, they are the largest populations on the main Hawaiian Islands. Volunteers from the 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. The program offers presentations at Grand Hyatt Kauai’s Hale Nalu Thursdays at 9 a.m. and Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas every third Tuesday of the month.

Stay 100 feet from basking seals, and report any seal harassment to the LOCAL POLICE DISPATCHER at (808) 241-1711, the KAUA‘I MARINE CONSERVATION COORDINATOR at (808) 651-7668 NOAA ENFORCEMENT HOTLINE OR at (800) 853-1964.