Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Who Doesn't Love Seals?

Isn't this one of the most beautiful animals you have ever seen? Look at it's slim, athletic body, those perfect flippers, and that cute little face buried in the sand. Makes you want to reach out and touch it, doesn't it? But hold on! No touching. This is one of the most endangered mammals in the U.S. So what kind of seal is it?

Meet the Hawaiian Monk Seal

The Hawaiian Monk Seal swims, eats, and rests in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. It's name is "llio holo l ka uana" in Hawaiian. That means "dog that runs in rough water." Of course, it's not a dog, but it's playful, barks, and can bite to protect itself just like a dog.  Here are a few facts about the Monk Seal.

  • It can live for 25 to 30 years
  • It grow up to 7 feet long and can weigh 500 to 600 pounds.
  • It eat fish, spiny lobster, eels, and octopus
  •  It can dive down to 1,000 feet
  • It biggest predators are Tiger and Galapagos sharks 
  • Adults hunt at night, and juveniles hunt during the day

It's numbers are decreasing every year, and there are only about 1,200 left in the wild. They are victims of over-hunting, bi-catch, and habitat loss. They are no longer hunted, but they get caught in fishing nets just like dolphins and other sea animals. Their habitat is disappearing because Hawaii has more people, and that means more of the beaches are becoming people beaches not seal beaches. The Monk seal likes to rest in the sun on long sandy beaches, or hide in the brush on the shoreline when a big storm hits. If the beaches are all occupied by people, there is no room left for the Monk seals to rest, play in the surf, or to find a quiet place to have their babies. 

Remember--"Some think it's cool, but I think it's cruel" to see animals disappear.

Here are three books I like on the Hawaiian Monk Seal. They are on Amazon. Here's a secret--The Story of Hina is my favorite. I even have an autographed copy!

The Story of Hina

The Odyssey of KP2

Ching: The Hawaiian Monk Seal

For more information on the Monk Seal, please check out these sites.

Ke Kai Ola Marine Mammal Center

NOAA Fisheries 5 year plan to save the Monk Seal