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.
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.