What do Hawaiian monk seals do for the ecosystem?
Kehaulani: Monk seals play an important role in the marine ecosystem, like most species in these complex webs. Like manō and ulua, monk seals are apex predators and serve to control the levels of many prey populations to maintain a healthy functioning ecosystem.
What do you do if you see a Hawaiian monk seal?
There are usually protective barricades surrounding the area where the monk seals rest. But if there aren’t any, keep a safe distance (at least 150 feet) from them and don’t try to touch, chase or feed the seals. This goes for all the marine species you come across on the island.
Is the Hawaiian monk seal dangerous?
Myth 6: Seals are a risk to human safety because they attack people. Reality: Most monk seals are not aggressive toward people unless they feel threatened (such as when a person comes between a mother seal and her pup).
What makes the Hawaiian monk seal unique?
The Hawaiian monk seal is unique in that it lives in a tropical climate. Most seals prefer freezing water. Hawaiian monk seals do not have external ears, and they cannot rotate their hind flippers under their bodies.
How rare are Hawaiian monk seals?
With an estimated population of 1,200 individuals, the Hawaiian monk seal is one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals and the rarest seal in US waters.
What do Hawaiian monk seals eat?
Although adult Hawaiian monk seals are quite large (over 7 feet long [over 2 meters] and more than 400 books [200 kilos]), they are still taken as prey by some large inshore sharks, especially tiger sharks, and scientists studying Hawaiian monk seals see tiger sharks taking small to medium-sized individuals, near their…
How close can you get to a Hawaiian monk seal?
Hawaiian Monk Seals Photo: Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources/Lesley Macpherson Recommended viewing distance: at least 15 meters (50 feet) away, on land and in water. Stay behind signs or barriers.
How long do monk seals stay on the beach?
The dives last on average 15 to 20 minutes. On the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, it’s not as rare as it once was to come across a Hawaiian monk seal sleeping on the beach. Does this mean the endangered marine mammal is making a comeback?
What animals do Hawaiian monk seals eat?
Tiger sharks often prey on Hawaiian monk seals, as evidenced by the shark bites present on many monk seals. Other shark predators include gray reef sharks and white tip reef sharks.
Are monk seals rare?
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 islands of northwest Hawaii. These small islands and atolls are either uninhabited or little frequented by man.
Where can I find a Hawaiian monk seal?
Hawaiian monk seals are endemic to Hawaii and are the only marine mammal found only in US waters. The majority of these animals live in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and about 200 are found on the main islands.
Are there still monk seals in the world?
The Hawaiian monk seal is the last surviving species of its genus and is endemic to the 1,500-mile-long archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands from Hawai’i Island to Kure Atoll. There are only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals left in the world, and their population is well below historic levels.
How does the Hawaiian monk seal’s reproductive process work?
The breeding process is extremely aggressive for everyone involved. First, males are aggressive towards each other and fight to mate with females. Then, the males can be aggressive with the females they want to make friends with. Many older females have bite marks and other scars from the mating process.
Are there any seals left on the Hawaiian Islands?
Most seals are found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian monk seal is endangered, although its cousin, the Mediterranean monk seal (M. monachus), is even rarer, and the Caribbean monk seal (M. tropicalis), last seen in the 1950s, was officially declared extinct in June 2008.