Friday, October 28

Hawaiian Monk Seals

Ron and I lived on the island of Molokai for 2.5 years and were involved heavily in the monitoring of the Hawaiian Monk Seal. There are an estimated 1100 seals in the islands, with approximately 150 in the main Hawaiian Islands. The population of this animal is decreasing at an alarming  rate of 4% per year--thus making it one of the rarest species in the world. We would normally see 8-10 seals on each of our treks, with 18 seals in one day being the highest number. We would identify the seals by their tags, body marks or bleach marks and then report our findings to NOAA. Our efforts helped NOAA officials to have a better understanding of the travels and behaviors of the seals.

 Each seal is tagged in both hind flippers after they are weaned at the age of 2months or so.
 The letter indicates the year of birth and the number is their id.

 Here you see a yearling...a favorite pose by these critters...snoozing on the beach.

 This is Kaiwi, an Oahu seal that was born this summer. At birth she weighed about 30 pounds and now weighs around 150lbs...the thing on her back is a cell phone transmitter allowing scientists to be able to track her position and diving depths.

Hard to believe there's only 1100 of them left  :(

"Monk Seal Hug" 

This is what we called a "cruiser" just checking out the beach areas for other seals

Ron and I would make a weekly trek to an area called La`au Point. Now it's not easy to get there---it's a 8.3 mile hike round trip. It's long, rocky, sandy, hot, but absolutely beautiful. It really has to be one of my most favorite spots on the planet...the water is blue, the sand is white and you rarely see another human being on this trek. This is a perfect place for the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. I could post literally 1000's of photos of these awesome creatures. If you care to know more about the seals check out  Monksealmania .It's listed over on the right. Lots of amazing photos there.


  1. That must have been an incredible experience to be involved in such an important and caring project. I hope they can figure out a way to reverse the trend. They are absolutely beautiful! This is so interesting! Keep sharing!

  2. these are a wonderful sight to see for me. sweet faces and it hurts the heart they are disappearing. a great project to help with


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