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Hawaiian Monk Seals
Hawaiian name: ‘Ilio-holo-i-kauaua
(Dog that runs in the Sea)

Maui TV News video on recent efforts to help Hawaiian monk seals.
Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Group Hotline: 888-256-9840

About Hawaiian Monk Seals

How HWF works to help Hawaiian Monk Seals
   > Conducted research on Midway Atoll, 1997-2000
   > Coordinated the Maui Monk Seal Watch, 1996-2007
   > Provides expertise on the Monk Seal Recovery Team

The Hawaiian Monk Seal is a critically endangered species.

> About Hawaiian Monk Seals
The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is the only truly tropical seal in the world and it is critically endangered. There are fewer than 1100 monk seals remaining in the entire Hawaiian Archipelago.

Monk seal hauled out Midway Atoll - photo by Carrie RobertsonMonk seals are mostly nocturnal feeders with a very diverse diet including eels, octopus, lobsters and fish. They come up onto land to rest, and to
give birth and nurse their young. They are very sensitive to human disturbance at their haul-out sites.

Mother monk seals nurse their pups on the beach for approximately 6 weeks and must not be disturbed. Although their total numbers are decreasing every year in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, those monk seals born in the Main Hawaiian Islands are surviving better and need our continued vigilant protection.

> How HWF works to help Hawaiian Monk Seals

· Conducted research on Midway Atoll
Marking a monk seal on Midway AtollHawai'i Wildlife Fund conducted monk seal research on Midway Atoll from 1997-2000 in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Our data have been used by the National Marine Fisheries Service to assist in the recovery of this unique and endangered species.

· Coordinated the Maui Monk Seal Watch
Maui Monk Seal Watch - photo by Carrie RobertsonIn addition to teaching hundreds of visitors each year out in the “living classroom” about Hawai'i's monk seals, Hawai'i Wildlife Fund coordinated the Monk Seal Watch on the island of Maui, 1996-2007. When monk seals haul out onto the beach to rest, Monk Seal Watch volunteers place police tape around the area and stand by to educate the public, ensuring the animals are not harassed while they rest. This program is now coordinated by NOAA Fisheries, PIRO, contact Nicole Davis, Maui Marine Mammal Response Network Specialist at Volunteer support is more critical than ever as this species is declining in numbers ~5%/year. If you encounter a monk seal on the beach or want to volunteer, contact the hotline 808-292-2372 or email Nicole at

· Provides expertise on the recovery of Monk Seals
Bill Gilmartin, HWF co-founder and Director of Research, has served on the Monk Seal Recovery Team and the IUCN Seal Specialist Group for more than 20 years. He supports a plan to build a monk seal rehabilitation center in NELHA, Hawai'i Island.

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Related Links
 > Volunteer
Monk Seal Videos
HWF Monk Seal Research
HWF Monk Seal Research
Save Our Seals Video
Save Our Seals Video
Monk Seal Photos
monk seal resting underwater - photo by Carrie Robertson
Seal resting underwater
Monk seal hauled out on rocks - photo by Carrie Robertson
Seal hauled out on rocks
Monk seal on beach - photo by Cheryl King
Seal resting on beach
Mother monk seal with pup
Mother seal with pup
Monk seal tangled in fishing net
Seal tangled in net
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