April 19, 2012
Honestly – I didn’t have a very adventurous or exciting day – until Bryan suggested to watch the sunset in Pa’ia.
Wait! I missed Day 8 – Click Here to see what happened Day 8 in Maui!
Sure a sunset is relaxing but not exciting. We were walking back towards the other end of the beach when we were stopped by a volunteer who asked us to not walk any further. Puzzled - we agreed and than he told us why! A Hawaiian Monk Seal was sleeping on the beach. Hawaiian Monk Seal! What the …. wait! what is that. and than I saw her sleeping right there on the beach.
I was curious about these creatures so I looked up some information and this is what I found on the Hawaiian Monk Seals!
Most seals are at home in frigid waters, but the Hawaiian monk seal is a rare tropical exception.
Hawaiian monk seals live in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. These small islands and atolls are either uninhabited or little-used by humans. They are also surrounded with teeming coral reefs, which serve as great foraging grounds for skilled seals to swim and dive for fish, spiny lobsters, octopuses, and eels. Monk seals spend most of their time at sea, but come ashore to rest on beaches and even utilize fringe vegetation as shelter from storms.
The monk seal is named for its folds of skin that somewhat resemble a monk’s cowl, and because it is usually seen alone or in small groups. Hawaiians call the seal `Ilio holo I ka uaua, which means, “dog that runs in rough water.”
Mother monk seals are dedicated and remain with their pups constantly for the first five or six weeks of their lives. They don’t eat during this challenging time and may lose hundreds of pounds.
Like the other species of warm-water monk seals, the Mediterranean and Caribbean monk seals, the Hawaiian monk seal has a tenuous grasp on survival. The Caribbean monk seal, in fact, is believed to have been extinct since the 1970s. Perhaps 300 to 600 Mediterranean monk seals and about 1,300 to 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals survive.
Humans have moved into many of the desirable coastal habitats that these animals once frequented, so open coastline is at a premium. Monk seals have also been victims of fisheries, though they are usually accidental bycatch and not a targeted species. Sharks also prey on these seals, and males sometimes kill females of their own species in group attacks called “mobbing.”
Today, Hawaiian monk seals are endangered and, although many protection efforts are in place, their numbers are believed to have fallen more than ten percent per year since 1989.
The picture above is a little hard to see so I found this photo of a Hawaiian Monk Seal:
Have You ever seen a Hawaiian Monk Seal
while vacationing in Hawaii? Where and did you get a picture? Comment below and let me know what your first thought was of seeing a Hawaiian Monk Seal!
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