Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal

A long time ago, the Hawaiians named this species of seal “llio holo I ka uaua” (dog that runs in rough water). Now the Hawaiian monk seal has become one of the most endangered species in the world, with only about 1,100 remaining.

When this particular seal came in to sleep on Poipu beach in Kauai—the Hawaiian Monk Seal Response Team was immediately alerted. A volunteer arrived quickly and placed a rope barrier around the area to assure that the seal would not be disturbed while resting. Viewing of the seal was allowed from a safe distance, and close-up photos were easily taken with a zoom lens.Caution-Endangered-Seal
The volunteer kindly stayed to watch over the sleeping seal. She talked to people who were passing by, and told them about the history and current status of the Hawaiian monk seal. She made it very clear that the continued survival of the seal is largely dependent upon human compassion and understanding.
Many people who have not seen a sleeping monk seal before, think that the seal is stranded on the beach and needs help. This is not the case. It should be left alone. Coming too close to a seal while it is trying to rest could cause it to go back into the water prematurely. And, without adequate sleep, a tired seal might not have enough strength to deal with life in the rough ocean waters.
The volunteers who watch over the sleeping seals are definitely angels. They freely give their time to assure that these endangered creatures are protected and not forever lost. Hopefully, through their efforts and the efforts of other concerned individuals and groups, the number of Hawaiian monk seals will soon begin to increase.

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in Animals, Kauai, Photo Essay, photography, Travel, wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal

  1. The seal is such a cutie! It’s a shame that they have almost been wiped out.

    • Between predators, disease, people, and other factors….yes it is a shame.
      Hopefully, now that people are paying attention to the situation, the Hawaiian monk seal numbers will rise.

  2. Rasma R says:

    Most adorable character I’ve seen in a long time. Hope the Monk Seals rise in number again.

  3. Thanks for sharing the information.

  4. dorannrule says:

    This is so heart warming! When humans realize how important it is to preserve other living creatures, I feel my faith in humanity being restored. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    • Yes. It is so nice to see that there are so many kind and compassionate people in the world. Unfortunately, the news media usually focuses on the bad, so we rarely hear about these heart-warming stories.

  5. smallpebbles says:

    Use to live on Maui – and occasionally would be gifted by the sight of seals. Don’t know if they were monk seals, but so nice to read they are being watched over by angels…..

  6. artscottnet says:

    awesome images… I’ve not seen one outside of pictures and documentaries… amazing creatures, Hi Mary, hope you’re well

  7. We, the humans, will ever learn when to stop?

  8. Patty B says:

    That was interesting. I think it is adorable. It is fascinating to know that people are there to watch over these seals they are in ever sense of the word – angels since they are ministering to one of Gods creations.

  9. Very interesting information. I would have assumed it was stranded and walked up to it.

    • I would have done that too. Lying there, so motionless….many concerned people think that the seal is either sick or in trouble. It is a very good thing that the volunteers stay to help educate the people (from all around the world) who come down to the beach.

  10. I’m new to blogging on WordPress and am most appreciative of your visit and the “like” you gave me – thank you! I’ll certainly enjoy reading and viewing your posts. This particular story is of great interest; we have no monk seals here in Nova Scotia but our local species offer their own charm (and frustration to fishermen, sometimes). We often see them lounging around the shoreline. I’m glad there is such a proactive group looking out for the monk seals’ well-being and hope the seal population will rebound.


    • Welcome Brenda…you are going to love blogging. It’s great fun.
      Just like in Nova Scotia, Hawaiian fishermen are often frustrated by seals too.
      Luckily, there is enough room in the ocean for everyone. Just have to keep an eye open and watch out for each other!.

      • Thanks! I’ll learn to find time and I’ll enjoy exploring the blogsphere on WordPress. There are so many articulate and compelling writers here.

        Our northern seas are harsher and colder but rich with life. Right now, it’s the season of the great whales – humpback, minke, right whale and other species. Their presence awes and humbles me.

  11. Cam says:

    We saw a lot of sea turtles when we were in Kauai this spring but no monk seals. He looks like he’s waving to you in the photo. So cute! Hopefully we can continue to share this Earth with all the creatures, cute and not-so-cute, that call this home 🙂

    • It does look like the seal is waving, but…no.
      One wave came in a little higher than the rest, and rolled over the seal’s face.
      This woke the seal up long enough to brush the sand and seaweed off…and then…
      it went right back to sleep. 🙂

  12. montucky says:

    Bless those folks who care for the seals!

  13. Hi Mary,
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and liking my post about Monk Seals. This is an excellent post about them as well. I stopped by to read this. Your pictures are fabulous, and I didn’t know that about their sleeping habits, but it makes total sense. I hope you’ll stop by often. I look forward to getting better acquainted through our blogs. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

    • I lived in Hawaii (island of Oahu) for 11 years, so when I came back to visit Kauai—I already knew about the Hawaiian monk seal and green sea turtle protections. There is up to a $5,000 fine and up to a 5 years imprisonment for touching, harassing, or disturbing a Hawaiian monk seal. Your post said that the lifeguard was frantically trying to stop people who were looking for a chance to rub the seals tummy. Whether they know it or not, those who choose to disregard the lifeguards, the ropes, and the caution signs…..are about to make a very expensive mistake!

  14. Wow! How cute! Hopefully they will be able to get the rest and help needed so they will thrive for a long long time

  15. Moonierh says:

    Some faith in humanity restored! It is a shame there are so few left, but if volunteers keep on doing this I am sure the seals will have a better chance to survive this

    • There are quite a few good people in the world, I think. Unfortunately, the news focuses mainly on what is bad, and we don’t hear much about nice things that are happening. These volunteers are giving these seals a better chance for survival, its true!

  16. What a wonderful and important post you’ve written.
    This should be the Poster Seal for the “Save the Monk Seals” cause!

  17. mm0f2kds says:

    I had never heard of these seals before. Thanks so much for posting about them! Also, thanks for visiting my blog and for the like on my post “Morning Beauty”!

  18. Lynda says:

    Mary, I never realized this, though it makes perfect sense, thank you for telling us!

  19. lylekrahn says:

    Interesting creature.

  20. Anarette.com says:

    What a great way to help protect the species.

  21. Pingback: Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital Is Now Fully Funded! (Thank You Firedoll Foundation and to a very generous family foundation!) | Sunset Daily

  22. ewgreenlee says:

    Great photo and what a ham for waving at you. Was this near Poipu?

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