Hawaiian monk seal

The Hawaiian monk seal, Neomonachus schauinslandi (formerly Monachus schauinslandi), is an endangered species of earless seal in the family Phocidae that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.[3]

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of two remaining monk seal species; the other is the Mediterranean monk seal. A third species, the Caribbean monk seal, is extinct.[4]

The Hawaiian monk seal is the only seal native to Hawaii, and, along with the Hawaiian hoary bat, is one of only two mammals endemic to the islands.[5]

These monk seals are a conservation reliant endangered species. The small population of about 1,400 individuals is threatened by human encroachment, very low levels of genetic variation, entanglement in fishing nets, marine debris, disease, and past commercial hunting for skins.[6][7] There are many methods of conservation biology when it comes to endangered species; translocation, captive care, habitat cleanup, and educating the public about the Hawaiian monk seal are some of the methods that can be employed.[8][9][10]

Hawaiian monk seal
Monachus schauinslandi
Hawaiian monk seal at Kaʻula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Clade: Pinnipedia
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Neomonachus
N. schauinslandi
Binomial name
Neomonachus schauinslandi
(Matschie, 1905)
Hawaiian Monk Seal area
Hawaiian monk seal range

Monachus schauinslandi
Matschie, 1905[2]


Known to native Hawaiians as ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, or "dog that runs in rough water", its scientific name is from Hugo Schauinsland, a German scientist who discovered a skull on Laysan Island in 1899.[11] Its common name comes from short hairs on its head, said to resemble a monk.[4] The Hawaiian monk seals are adopted to be Hawaii's state mammal.


Its grey coat, white belly, and slender physique distinguish them from their cousin, the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina).[4] The monk seal’s physique is ideal for hunting its prey: fish, lobster, octopus and squid in deep water coral beds.[12] When it is not hunting and eating, it generally basks on the sandy beaches and volcanic rock of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.[13]

The Hawaiian monk seal is part of the family Phocidae, being named so for its characteristic lack of external ears and inability to rotate its hind flippers under the body.[14] The Hawaiian monk seal has a relatively small, flat head with large black eyes, eight pairs of teeth, and short snouts with the nostril on top of the snout and vibrissae on each side.[4] The nostrils are small vertical slits which close when the seal dives underwater. Additionally, their slender, torpedo-shaped body and hind flippers allow them to be very agile swimmers.[15]

Adult males are 300 to 400 pounds (140 to 180 kg) in weight and 7 feet (2.1 m) in length while adult females tend to be, on average, slightly larger, at 400 to 600 pounds (180 to 270 kg) and 8 feet (2.4 m) in length. When monk seal pups are born, they average 30 to 40 pounds (14 to 18 kg) and 40 inches (1.0 m) in length. As they nurse for approximately six weeks, they grow considerably, eventually weighing between 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 91 kg) by the time they are weaned, while the mother loses up to 300 pounds (140 kg).

Monk seals, like elephant seals, shed their hair and the outer layer of their skin in an annual catastrophic molt. During the most active period of the molt, about 10 days for the Hawaiian monk seal,[16] the seal remains on the beach. The hair, generally dark gray on the dorsal side and lighter silver ventrally, gradually changes color through the year with exposure to atmospheric conditions. Sunlight and seawater cause the dark gray to become brown and the light silver to become yellow-brown, while long periods of time spent in the water can also promote algae growth, giving many seals a green tinge. The juvenile coat of the monk seal, manifest in a molt by the time a pup is weaned is silver-gray; pups are born with black pelage. Many Hawaiian monk seals sport scars from shark attacks or entanglements with fishing gear. Maximum life expectancy is 25 to 30 years.

Evolution and migration

Hauled-out seal on Laysan Island

The monk seals are members of the Phocidae. In an influential 1977 paper, Repenning and Ray proposed, based on certain unspecialized features, that they were the most primitive living seals.[17] However, this idea has since been entirely superseded.

In an effort to inform the public and conserve the seals, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service developed a historical timeline to demonstrate that the Hawaiian islands has been home to the seals for millions of years and that the seals belong there. Evidence points to monk seals migrating to Hawaii between 4-11 million years ago (mya) through an open water passage between North and South America called the Central American Seaway. The Isthmus of Panama closed the Seaway approximately 3 million years ago.[18]

Berta and Sumich ask how this species came to the Hawaiian Islands when its closest relatives are on the other side of the world in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.[19] The species may have evolved in the Pacific or Atlantic, but in either case, came to Hawaii long before the first Polynesians.



Sleeping seal
A Hawaiian monk seal observed in Kauai

The majority of the Hawaiian monk seal population can be found around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands but a small and growing population lives around the main Hawaiian Islands.[13] These seals spend two-thirds of their time at sea. Monk seals spend much of their time foraging in deeper water outside of shallow lagoon reefs at sub-photic depths of 300 metres (160 fathoms) or more.[20][21] Hawaiian monk seals breed and haul-out on sand, corals, and volcanic rock; sandy beaches are more commonly used for pupping.[13] Due to the immense distance separating the Hawaiian Islands from other land masses capable of supporting the Hawaiian monk seal, its habitat is limited to the Hawaiian Islands.


Hawaiian monk seals mainly prey on reef dwelling bony fish, but they also prey on cephalopods, and crustaceans.[12] Both juveniles and sub-adults prey more on smaller octopus species, such as Octopus leteus and O. hawaiiensis, nocturnal octopus species, and eels than the adult Hawaiian monk seals,[12] while adult seals feed mostly on larger octopus species such as O. cyanea. Hawaiian monk seals have a broad and diverse diet due to foraging plasticity which allows them to be opportunistic predators that feed on a wide variety of available prey.[12]

Hawaiian monk seals can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes and dive more than 1,800 feet; however, they usually dive an average of 6 minutes to depths of less than 200 feet to forage at the seafloor.[22]


Tiger sharks, great white sharks and Galapagos sharks are predators of the Hawaiian Monk Seal.[23]



Hawaiian monk seals mate in the water during their breeding season, which occurs between June and August.[4] Females reach maturity at age four and bear one pup a year. The fetus takes nine months to develop, with birth occurring between March and June. Pups start around 16 kilograms (35 lb) and are about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long. They can have 1 baby pup a year.[24]


The pups are born on beaches and nursed for about six weeks. The mother does not eat or leave the pup while nursing. After that time, the mother deserts the pup, leaving it on its own, and returns to the sea to forage for the first time since the pup’s arrival.[15]


Hawaiian monk seal Waimea Bay
A Hawaiian monk seal observed on the North Shore of Oahu, near Waimea Bay.

Most seals are found on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.[25]

The Hawaiian monk seal is endangered,[26] although its cousin species the Mediterranean monk seal (M. monachus) is even rarer, and the Caribbean monk seal (M. tropicalis), last sighted in the 1950s, was officially declared extinct in June 2008.[27] The total population of Hawaiian monk seals is in decline - the larger population that inhabits the northwest islands is declining while the smaller population on the main Hawaiian Islands is increasing.[28][29] In 2010, it was estimated that only 1100 individuals remained. A later estimate in 2016, which included a more complete survey of small populations, was approximately 1400 individuals.[6]

Seals nearly disappeared from the main Hawaiian Islands, but the population has begun to recover. The growing population there was approximately 150 as of 2004[25] and 300 as of 2016.[6] Individuals have been sighted in surf breaks and on beaches in Kauaʻi, Niʻihau and Maui. Community volunteers on Oʻahu have made many anecdotal blog reports of sightings around the island since 2008. In early June 2010, two seals hauled out on Oʻahu's popular Waikiki beach. Seals have hauled out at O'ahu's Turtle Bay,[30] and again beached at Waikiki on March 4, 2011, by the Moana Hotel. Yet another adult came ashore for a rest next to the breakwater in Kapiolani Park Waikiki on the morning of 11 December 2012, after first being spotted traveling west along the reef break from the Aquarium side of the Park. On June 29, 2017 monk seal #RH58 popularly known as "Rocky" gave birth to a pup on Kaimana beach fronting Kapiolani park. Despite the fact Kaimana beach is popular and busy, Rocky has been routinely hauling out on this beach for several years.[31] In 2006, twelve pups were born in the main Hawaiian Islands, rising to thirteen in 2007, and eighteen in 2008. As of 2008 43 pups had been counted in the main Hawaiian islands.[32] Since 2012 and possibly earlier, there have been many anecdotal reports of monk seals hauling out on O'ahu's Kaena Point.

The Hawaiian monk seal was officially designated as an endangered species on November 23, 1976, and is now protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is illegal to kill, capture or harass a Hawaiian monk seal. Even with these protections, human activity along Hawaii's fragile coastlines (and in the world at large) still provides many stressors.[33]


Hawaiian monk seal - Monachus schauinslandi
Hawaiian monk seal

Natural factors threatening the Hawaiian monk seal include low juvenile survival rates, reduction of habitat/prey associated with environmental changes, increased male aggression, and subsequent skewed gender ratios.[34] Anthropogenic or human impacts include hunting (during the 1800s and 1900s) and the resulting small gene pool, continuing human disturbance, entanglement in marine debris, and fishery interactions.[34]

Natural threats

Low juvenile survival rates continue to threaten the species. High juvenile mortality is due to starvation and marine debris entanglement.[9] Another contributor to the low juvenile survival rates is predation from sharks, including tiger sharks. Most mature monk seals bear scars from shark encounters, and many such attacks have been observed.[34]

Reduced prey abundance can lead to starvation, with one cause being reduction in habitat associated with environmental change.[34] Habitat is shrinking due to erosion in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, reducing the size of islands/beaches.[34] Lobsters, the seals' preferred food other than fish, have been overfished. Competition from other apex predators such as sharks, jacks, and barracudas leaves little for developing pups. The creation of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument which encloses these islands may expand food supplies.

Mobbing is a practice among the seals that involves multiple males attacking one female in mating attempts. Mobbing is responsible for many deaths, especially to females.[35]

Mobbing leaves the targeted individual with wounds that increase vulnerability to septicemia, killing the victim via infection.[35] Smaller populations were more likely to experience mobbing as a result of the higher male/female ratio and male aggression. Unbalanced sex-ratios were more likely to occur in slow-growing populations.[36][37]

Further, postmortem examinations of some seal carcasses revealed gastric ulcerations caused by parasites.[38]

Anthropogenic impacts

In the nineteenth century, large numbers of seals were killed by whalers and sealers for meat, oil and skin.[39] U.S. military forces hunted them during World War II, while occupying Laysan Island and Midway.[39]

The Hawaiian monk seal has the lowest level of genetic variability among the 18 pinniped species.[9] This low genetic variability was allegedly due to a population bottleneck caused by intense hunting in the 19th century.[9] This limited genetic variability reduces the species ability to adapt to environmental pressures and limits natural selection, thus increasing their risk of extinction.[9] Given the monk seal's small population, the effects of disease could be disastrous.

Monk seals can be affected by the toxoplasmosis pathogen in cat feces that enters the ocean in polluted runoff and wastewater, a new phenomenon.[40] Over the past ten years, toxoplasmosis killed at least four seals. Other human-introduced pathogens, including leptospirosis, have infected monk seals.[40]

Human disturbances have had immense effects on the populations of the Hawaiian monk seal. Monk seals tend to avoid beaches where they are disturbed; after continual disturbance the seal may completely abandon the beach, thus reducing its habitat size, subsequently limiting population growth. For instance, large beach crowds and beach structures limit the seal’s habitat.[8][34][40] Although the WWII military bases in the northwestern islands were closed, minimal human activities can be enough to disturb the species.[34]

Marine fisheries can potentially interact with monk seals via direct and indirect relationships. Directly the seal can become snared by fishing equipment, entangled in discarded debris, and even feed on fish refuse.[34] Although international law prohibits the intentional discarding of debris from ships at sea, entanglement still results in mortality because the seals get trapped in unintentional marine debris such as fishing nets and cannot maneuver or even reach the surface to breathe.[9] Monk seals have one of the highest documented rates of entanglement of any pinniped species.[34]


In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt created the Hawaiian Islands Reservation that included the Northwest Hawaiian islands. The Reservation later became the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge (HINWR) and moved under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).[34] Throughout the 1980s, the National Marine Fisheries Service completed various versions of an Environmental Impact Statement that designated the Northwest Hawaiian Islands as a critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal. The designation prohibited lobster fishing in waters less than 10 fathoms in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and within 20 nautical miles of Laysan Island. The National Marine Fisheries Service designated all beach areas, lagoon waters, and ocean waters out to a depth of 10 fathoms (later 20 fathoms) around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, except for one of the Midway group, Sand Island. In 2006, a Presidential Proclamation established the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which incorporated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and the Battle of Midway National Memorial, thus creating the largest marine protected area in the world and affording the Hawaiian monk seal further protection.[41]

NOAA cultivated a network of volunteers to protect the seals while they bask or bear and nurse their young. NOAA is funding considerable research on seal population dynamics and health in conjunction with the Marine Mammal Center.

From NOAA, several programs and networks were formed to help the Hawaiian monk seal. Community programs such as PIRO have helped to improve community standards for the Hawaiian monk seal. The program also creates networks with the Native Hawaiians on the island to network more people in the fight for conservation of the seals. The Marine Mammal Response Network (MMRN) is partnered with NOAA and several other government agencies that deal with land and marine wildlife.[42]

The Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal identifies public outreach and education as a key action for promoting the conservation of the Hawaiian monk seal and its habitat.[41]

To raise awareness of the species' plight, on June 11, 2008, a state law designated the Hawaiian monk seal as Hawaii's official State Mammal .[43]

The task is to identify a manner of alleviation that is possible, cost-effective, and likely to maximize the organic return (in terms of growth potential) until much time has passed and natural conditions allow scientists to observe the effects.[44]

Protecting female pups

One key natural factor affecting the seal populations is the male-biased sex-ratio, which results in increased aggressive behaviors such as mobbing.[36] These aggressive behaviors decrease the number of females in the population. Two programs effectively aid female survival rates.

A headstarting project began in 1981, collecting and tagging female pups after weaning and placing them in a large, enclosed water and beach area with food and lacking disturbances.[45] The female pups remain during the summer months, leaving at roughly age three to seven months.

Another project began in 1984 at French Frigate Shoals. It collected severely underweight female pups, placed them in protective care, and fed them. The pups were relocated to Kure Atoll and released as yearlings.[45]

Some habitats are better suited to increase survival probability, making relocation a popular and promising method.[10] Although no direct links between infectious diseases and seal mortality rates have been found, unidentified infectious diseases could prove detrimental to relocation strategies.[46] Identification and mitigation of these and other possible factors limiting population growth represent ongoing challenges and are the primary objectives of the Hawaiian monk seal conservation and recovery effort.[38]

It is also important to consider the mothers who nurse their pups. Seal milk is very rich in nutrients, allowing pups to gain weight rapidly. With the rich milk from the mother, the pup is more likely to quadruple its initial weight before weaning. The mother seal also loses a tremendous amount of weight while nursing.[47]

Draft environment impact statement

In 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a controversial draft programmatic environmental impact statement intended to improve protections for the monk seal.[48] The plan includes:

  • Expanded surveys using technology such as remote cameras and unmanned, remotely operated aircraft.
  • Vaccination studies and vaccination programs.
  • De-worming program to improve juvenile survival.
  • Relocation to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
  • Diet supplements at feeding stations in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
  • Tools to modify undesirable contact with people and fishing gear in the main Hawaiian Islands.
  • Chemical alteration of aggressive monk seal behavior.


See also


  1. ^ Littnan, C.; Harting, A.; Baker, J. (2015). "Neomonachus schauinslandi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T13654A45227978. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T13654A45227978.en. Retrieved 2 June 2018.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Littnan, C., Harting, A. & Baker, J. 2015. Neomonachus schauinslandi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T13654A45227978. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T13654A45227978.en. Downloaded on 03 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Hawaiian Monk Seal, Monachus schauinslandi". monachus-guardian.org. 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi)". NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  5. ^ Nitta, Eugene; Henderson JR (1993). "A review of interactions between Hawaii's fisheries and protected species" (pdf). Marine Fisheries Review. 83. 55 (2). Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  6. ^ a b c "Monk Seal: Population Size and Threats". Pacific Islands Regional Office, NOAA Fisheries, Dept. of Commerce. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  7. ^ Solomon, Molly (2017-01-25). "Hawaiian Monk Seal Population On The Rise". hpr2.org. Honolulu, HI: Hawaii Public Radio. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  8. ^ a b Boland, R; Donohue, R (2003). "Marine Debris Accumulation in the Nearshore Marine Habitat of the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal, Monachus Schauinslandi". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 11. 46 (11): 1385–139. doi:10.1016/S0025-326X(03)00291-1. PMID 14607537. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Schultz J, J. K.; Baker J; Toonen R; Bowen B (2009). "Extremely Low Genetic Diversity in the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus Schauinslandi)". Journal of Heredity. 1. 100 (1): 25–33. doi:10.1093/jhered/esn077. PMID 18815116. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  10. ^ a b Schultz, J; Baker J; Toonen R; Bowen B (2011). "Range-Wide Genetic Connectivity of the Hawaiian Monk Seal and Implications for Translocation". Conservation Biology. 1. 25 (1): 124–132. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01615.x. PMID 21166713.
  11. ^ Reeves, RR; Stewert, BS (2002). National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. ISBN 978-0-375-41141-0.
  12. ^ a b c d Goodman-Lowe, GD (1998). "Diet of the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus Schauinslandi) from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands during 1991 to 1994" (pdf). Marine Biology. 3. 132 (3): 535–46. doi:10.1007/s002270050419. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  13. ^ a b c Baker, J; Johanos, Thea C. (2004). "Abundance of the Hawaiian Monk Seal in the Main Hawaiian Islands". Biological Conservation. 1. 116: 103–10. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00181-2.
  14. ^ Gilmartin, William; Forcada, J. (2002). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, ed. "Monk Seals": 756–759.
  15. ^ a b Kenyon, KW; Rice, DW (July 1959). "Life History Of the Hawaiian Monk Seal". Pacific Science. 13. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  16. ^ Perrin, William F.; Bernd Wursig; J. G. M. Thewissen (24 November 2008). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Academic Press. p. 741. ISBN 978-0-12-373553-9. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  17. ^ Repenning, CA; Ray, CE (1977). "The origin of the Hawaiian monk seal". Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 89: 667–688.
  18. ^ "Historical Timeline of the Hawaiian Monk Seal" (PDF). Honolulu, HI, USA: National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office. June 29, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  19. ^ Berta, Annalisa; Sumich, James L (1999). Marine Mammals. Evolutionary Biology. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-093225-2.
  20. ^ Parrish, FA; Littnan, CL (2008). "Changing perspectives in Hawaiian monk seal research using animal-borne imaging" (pdf). Marine Technology Society Journal. 41 (4): 30–34. doi:10.4031/002533207787441944. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  21. ^ Parrish, Frank A (1999). In: Hamilton RW, Pence DF; Kesling DE Assessment; Feasibility of Technical Diving Operations for Scientific Exploration, eds. "Use of Technical Diving to Survey Forage Habitat of the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal". American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  22. ^ "Hawaiian Monk Seal". NOAA Fisheries. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  23. ^ Bertilsson-Friedman, P (2006). "Distribution and Frequencies of Shark-inflicted Injuries to the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus Schauinslandi)". Journal of Zoology. 268 (4): 361–68. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00066.x.
  24. ^ "Hawaiian Monk Seal". nwf.org. National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  25. ^ a b Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-06-055804-8.
  26. ^ "The Captive Care and Release Research Project Seeks to Aid Recovery of the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal". NOAA. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  27. ^ "Feds: Caribbean Monk Seal Officially Extinct". Fox News. Associated Press. 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  28. ^ "Hawaiian Monk Seal Population at a Glance". Honolulu, HI, USA. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  29. ^ "Hawaiian Monk Seal". Killyleagh, Co. Down, N. Ireland, UK & Kingsbarns, St Andrews, Scotland, UK: [Seal Conservation Society]. August 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  30. ^ donna (2012). "MonkSealMania.blogspot.com: Turtle Bay". Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  31. ^ Davis, Chelsea. "In a rare site,". HawaiiNewsNow. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  32. ^ Wianecki, Shannon. "Rough Water Pups". Maui Magazine. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  33. ^ Weber, Gretchen. "A struggle to survive: Environmental threats endanger monk seals". PBS. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Antonelis, GA; et al. (2006). "Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauins-landi): status and conservation issues". Atoll Res Bull. 543: 75–101.
  35. ^ a b Banish, LD; Gilmartin, WG (1992). "Pathological findings in the Hawaiian monk seal". Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 28 (3): 428–434. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-28.3.428. PMID 1512875. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  36. ^ a b Starfield, AM; Roth JD; Ralls K (1995). "Mobbing in Hawaiian monk seals: the value of simulation modeling in the absence of apparently crucial data". Conserv. Biol. 9 (1): 166–174. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1995.09010166.x. JSTOR 2386398.
  37. ^ "Hawaiian Monk Seals". earthtrust.org. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  38. ^ a b Gilmartin, WG (1983). "Recovery plan for the Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandi". U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service.
  39. ^ a b Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-06-055804-8.
  40. ^ a b c Dawson, Teresa. "A New Threat to Hawaiian Monk Seals: Cat Parasite Carried by Runoff, Sewage — Environmental Health News". Environmental Health News: Front Page. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  41. ^ a b "Second Revision of Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi)" (PDF). Honolulu, HI, USA: Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. January 28, 2010 [2007]. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-06. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  42. ^ Protected Resources Division." NOAA. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
  43. ^ Gladden, Tracy. "Hawaiian monk seal is the new state mammal". KHNL NBC 8 Honolulu Hawaii. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  44. ^ Antonelis, Baker, Johanos, Braun, Harting, Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi): Status and Conservation Issues pgs. 88-89
  45. ^ a b Gerrodette, Tim; Gilmartin William G (1980). "Demographic consequences of changed pupping and hauling sites of the Hawaiian monk seal". Conservation Biology. 4 (4): 423–430. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.1990.tb00317.x. JSTOR 2385936.
  46. ^ Aguirre, A.; T. Keefe; J. Reif; L. Kashinsky; P. Yochem (2007). "Infectious disease monitoring of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal". Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 43 (2): 229–241. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-43.2.229. PMID 17495307.
  47. ^ Hawaiian Monk Seal - Hawaiian Islands - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service." Hawaiian Monk Seal - Hawaiian Islands - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
  48. ^ "Fisheries Service to hold hearings on monk seals". The Maui News. September 6, 2011.

External links

Reporting hotlines

Hawaiian monk
seal sightings
Hawaiian Monk Seal
Sighting Hotline
Kauaʻi: 808-651-7668
Oʻahu: 808-220-7802
Molokaʻi: 808-553-5555
Maui and Lanaʻi: 808-292-2372
Big Island West: 808-987-0765
Big Island East: 808-756-5961
Stranded, entangled, or
injured marine mammals
NOAA Fisheries Marine
Mammal Hotline
Violations of the Marine
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of Law Enforcement
Caribbean monk seal

The Caribbean monk seal, West Indian seal or sea wolf (as early explorers referred to it), Neomonachus tropicalis, was a species of seal native to the Caribbean and is now believed to be extinct. The Caribbean monk seals' main predators were sharks and humans. Overhunting of the seals for oil and overfishing of their food sources are the established reasons for the seals' extinction. The last confirmed sighting of the Caribbean Monk Seal was in 1952 at Serranilla Bank, between Jamaica and Nicaragua. In 2008, the species was officially declared extinct in the United States after an exhaustive search for the seals that lasted for about five years. This analysis was conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Caribbean monk seals were closely related to the Hawaiian monk seals, which live around the Hawaiian Islands and are now endangered, and Mediterranean monk seals, another endangered species.

Earless seal

The earless seals, phocids or true seals are one of the three main groups of mammals within the seal lineage, Pinnipedia. All true seals are members of the family Phocidae . They are sometimes called crawling seals to distinguish them from the fur seals and sea lions of the family Otariidae. Seals live in the oceans of both hemispheres and, with the exception of the more tropical monk seals, are mostly confined to polar, subpolar, and temperate climates. The Baikal seal is the only species of exclusively freshwater seal.

Euprymna scolopes

Euprymna scolopes, also known as the Hawaiian bobtail squid, is a species of bobtail squid in the family Sepiolidae native to the central Pacific Ocean, where it occurs in shallow coastal waters off the Hawaiian Islands and Midway Island. The type specimen was collected off the Hawaiian Islands and is deposited at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C..Euprymna scolopes grows to 30 mm (1.2 in) in mantle length. Hatchlings weigh 0.005 g (0.00018 oz) and mature in 80 days. Adults weigh up to 2.67 g (0.094 oz).In the wild, E. scolopes feeds on species of shrimp, including Halocaridina rubra, Palaemon debilis, and Palaemon pacificus. In the laboratory, E. scolopes has been reared on a varied diet of animals, including mysids (Anisomysis sp.), brine shrimp (Artemia salina), mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), prawns (Leander debilis), and octopuses (Octopus cyanea).The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) preys on E. scolopes in northwestern Hawaiian waters.

Hawaiian hoary bat

The Hawaiian hoary bat or ʻōpeʻapeʻa (Aeorestes semotus) is an endangered species of the hoary bat (family Vespertilionidae) that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian hoary bat is one of two species of mammal that are endemic to the islands, the other being the Hawaiian monk seal. It is a federally listed endangered taxon of the United States.


Headstarting is a conservation technique for endangered species, in which young animals are raised artificially and subsequently released into the wild. The technique allows a greater proportion of the hatchlings to reach idependnce, without predation or loss to other natural causes.For endangered birds and reptiles, eggs are collected from the wild are hatched using an incubator. For mammals such as Hawaiian monk seals, the young are removed from their mothers after weaning.

Hugo Schauinsland

Hugo Hermann Schauinsland (30 May 1857 – 5 June 1937) was a German zoologist born in Rittergut Dedawe, Kreis Labiau, East Prussia.

He studied natural sciences at the University of Geneva and zoology at the University of Königsberg, obtaining his doctorate in 1883. Following graduation he conducted research in Naples and Munich. In 1887 he became Gründungsdirektor (founding director) of the Städtischen Sammlungen für Naturgeschichte und Ethnographie, later to be known as the Übersee-Museum Bremen. Schauinsland served as director of the museum until his retirement in 1933. (succeeded by Carl Friedrich Roewer, 1881–1963).In 1896–97 he conducted scientific research in the Pacific (including the Hawaiian Islands). The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) and the Redspotted sandperch (Parapercis schauinslandii) are named in his honour, as are a number of smaller creatures; (Pseudaneitea schauinslandi, Maorichiton schauinslandi, Caconemobius schauinslandi, Dolomedes schauinslandi).

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii. It was established in 1976 to permanently protect an ecologically-intact unit and to provide habitat for native and migratory fauna and native flora. It established critical habitat for Hawaii's four endangered waterbirds, the ʻalae kea (Hawaiian coot, Fulica alai), koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck, Anas wyvilliana), ʻalae ʻula (Hawaiian gallinule, Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), and āeʻo (Hawaiian stilt, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni) and many migratory seabirds, endangered and native plant species, and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and green sea turtle. It also provides increased wildlife-dependent public uses and flood control within the refuge and the local community.


Kaʻula Island, also called Kaʻula Rock, is a small, crescent-shaped offshore islet in the Hawaiian Islands.

List of Hawaii state symbols

The following is a list of symbols of the U.S. state of Hawaii.

List of U.S. state mammals

A state mammal is the official mammal of a U.S. state as designated by a state's legislature. Many states also have separately officially designated state animals, state birds, state fish, state butterflies, and state reptiles. States similarly have state flowers, state trees and state songs.


Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.


Moʻomomi is a Nature Conservancy preserve located on the northwestern shore of Molakaʻi in Hawaii. It was established in 1988. This area is dry and hot, primarily denuded of soil due to overgrazing and poor land use practices over the last 150 years.

Moʻomomi preserve protects some of the very last intact coastal shrublands in Hawaii. The Moʻomomi preserve contains sand dunes, lithified sand formations, rare endemic Hawaiian coastal plant species, nesting seabirds and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), and the occasional Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi). An endangered bee species, Hylaeus hilaris, is only known from here.Within the preserve, over 22 native plant species can be found including ʻakoko (Euphorbia skottsbergii), nehe (Lipochaeta integrifolia), Tetramolopium rockii, hinahina kū kahakai (Heliotropium anomalum var. argenteum), kolokolo kahakai (Vitex rotundifolia), pōhuehue (Ipomoea pes-caprae brasiliensis), pāʻūohiʻiaka (Jacquemontia ovalifolia sandwicensis), naupaka (Scaevola spp.), ʻenaʻena (Pseudognaphalium sandwicensium var. molokaiense), and many others. Access to Moʻomoni Preserve is available during Nature Conservancy guided tours.

Monk seal

Monk seals are earless seals of the tribe Monachini. They are the only earless seals found in tropical climates. The two genera of monk seals, Monachus and Neomonachus, comprise three species: the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus; the Hawaiian monk seal, Neomonachus schauinslandi; and the Caribbean monk seal, Neomonachus tropicalis, which became extinct in the 20th century. The two surviving species are now rare and in imminent danger of extinction. All three monk seal species were classified in genus Monachus until 2014, when the Caribbean and Hawaiian species were placed into a new genus, Neomonachus.

Monk seals have a slender body and are agile. They have a broad, flat snout with nostrils on the top. Monk seals are polygynous, and group together in harems. They feed mainly on bony fish and cephalopods, but they are opportunistic. The skin is covered in small hairs, which are generally black in males and brown or dark gray in females. Monk seals are found in the Hawaiian archipelago, certain areas in the Mediterranean Sea (such as Cabo Blanco and Gyaros island), and formerly in the tropical areas of the west Atlantic Ocean.

All species experienced overhunting by sealers. The Hawaiian monk seal experienced population drops in the 19th century and during World War II, and the Caribbean monk seal was exploited since the 1500s until the 1850s, when populations were too low to hunt commercially. The Mediterranean monk seal has experienced commercial hunting since the Middle Ages and eradication by fishermen. Monk seals have developed a fear of humans, and may even abandon beaches due to human presence. Currently, around 1,700 monk seals remain.


Neomonachus is a genus of earless seals, within the family Phocidae. It contains two species, the extant Hawaiian monk seal and the extinct Caribbean monk seal. Prior to 2014, all three species of monk seals were placed in the genus Monachus, but that was found to be paraphyletic.


Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.


Pinnipeds, commonly known as seals, are a widely distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals. They comprise the extant families Odobenidae (whose only living member is the walrus), Otariidae (the eared seals: sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (the earless seals, or true seals). There are 33 extant species of pinnipeds, and more than 50 extinct species have been described from fossils. While seals were historically thought to have descended from two ancestral lines, molecular evidence supports them as a monophyletic lineage (descended from one ancestral line). Pinnipeds belong to the order Carnivora and their closest living relatives are believed to be bears and the superfamily of musteloids (weasels, raccoons, skunks, and red pandas), having diverged about 50 million years ago.

Seals range in size from the 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 45 kg (99 lb) Baikal seal to the 5 m (16 ft) and 3,200 kg (7,100 lb) southern elephant seal, which is also the largest member of the order Carnivora. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism. They have streamlined bodies and four limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not as fast in the water as dolphins, seals are more flexible and agile. Otariids use their front limbs primarily to propel themselves through the water, while phocids and walruses use their hind limbs. Otariids and walruses have hind limbs that can be pulled under the body and used as legs on land. By comparison, terrestrial locomotion by phocids is more cumbersome. Otariids have visible external ears, while phocids and walruses lack these. Pinnipeds have well-developed senses—their eyesight and hearing are adapted for both air and water, and they have an advanced tactile system in their whiskers or vibrissae. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water, and, other than the walrus, all species are covered in fur.

Although pinnipeds are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They spend most of their lives in the water, but come ashore to mate, give birth, molt or escape from predators, such as sharks and killer whales. They feed largely on fish and marine invertebrates; but a few, like the leopard seal, feed on large vertebrates, such as penguins and other seals. Walruses are specialized for feeding on bottom-dwelling mollusks. Male pinnipeds typically mate with more than one female (polygyny), although the degree of polygyny varies with the species. The males of land-breeding species tend to mate with a greater number of females than those of ice breeding species. Male pinniped strategies for reproductive success vary between defending females, defending territories that attract females and performing ritual displays or lek mating. Pups are typically born in the spring and summer months and females bear almost all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for a relatively short period of time while others take foraging trips at sea between nursing bouts. Walruses are known to nurse their young while at sea. Seals produce a number of vocalizations, notably the barks of California sea lions, the gong-like calls of walruses and the complex songs of Weddell seals.

The meat, blubber and fur coats of pinnipeds have traditionally been used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Seals have been depicted in various cultures worldwide. They are commonly kept in captivity and are even sometimes trained to perform tricks and tasks. Once relentlessly hunted by commercial industries for their products, seals and walruses are now protected by international law. The Japanese sea lion and the Caribbean monk seal have become extinct in the past century, while the Mediterranean monk seal and Hawaiian monk seal are ranked endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Besides hunting, pinnipeds also face threats from accidental trapping, marine pollution, and conflicts with local people.

Sea Life Park Hawaii

Sea Life Park Hawaii is a marine mammal park, bird sanctuary and aquarium in Waimānalo near Makapuʻu Point, north of Hanauma Bay on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, United States. The park first opened in 1964, and includes exhibits that let visitors interact with the animals by swimming with dolphins, sea lions, and rays, taking a sea safari in the aquarium, and feeding the sea turtles. The park was acquired in 2008 and is operated by Palace Entertainment, the U.S. subsidiary of Parques Reunidos from Dolphin Discovery which had acquired it in 2005.

Turtle Bay, Oahu

Turtle Bay is located between Protection Point and Kuilima Point on the North Shore of the island of O'ahu in the U.S. state of Hawaii.

The bay is named after the large number of green sea turtles that inhabit the area and who used to lay their eggs in the sand on the beach years ago.

Yuri Lisyansky

Yuri Fyodorovich Lisyansky (also spelled as Urey Lisiansky and Lisianski and Lysyansky) (Ukrainian: Юрій Федорович Лисянський, Jurij Fedorovyč Lysjanskyj; Russian: Ю́рий Фёдорович Лися́нский, Jurij Fëdorovič Lisjanskij, 1(13) April 1773 – 6 March 1837) was an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy and explorer of Ukrainian origin.

Lisyansky was born in Nizhyn (now Ukraine, then Russian Empire) in the family of the orthodox priest and was a descendant of old Cossack family. In 1786 he graduated from the Navy Cadet Corps and took part in the Russo-Swedish War (1788-1790). During 1790-1793 he served in the Baltic Fleet. During 1793-1799 he sailed British ships all over the globe. Between 1793 and 1795 he served as a volunteer aboard the 36-gun HMS Oiseau, under her captain, Robert Murray. Lisyansky recalled in his memoirs his experiences on the North American Station operating against French convoys and privateers, and how while in the West Indies he was struck by yellow fever, recalling how Murray had helped his recovery, even giving up part of his own accommodation for the sick Lisyansky.In 1803-1806 Lisyanski as the commanding officer of the Russian-American Company's merchant sloop Neva took part in the first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth. The expedition was under the command of Count Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov, Plentipotentiary of Alexander I for the Far Eastern and Western colonies of the Russian Empire, and Captain Adam Johann von Krusenstern in Nadezhda. They started from Kronstadt, but the ships split after visiting Hawaii, and Count Nikolay Rezanov and Lisianski headed to Russian America (Alaska). In 1804 Neva visited Easter Island, and later that year, was essential in defeating the Tlingit in the Battle of Sitka, Alaska. In 1805 he met Krusenstern again in Macau, but they soon separated. Also in 1805, he was the first to describe the Hawaiian monk seal on the island which now bears his name. Eventually, Neva was the first to return to Kronstadt on 22 July 1806. For his feats Lisyanski received several rewards, including the Order of Saint Vladimir of 3rd degree.

Lisyanski was buried at Tikhvin Cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St. Petersburg.

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