Learn

Hawaiian Monk Seal


Scientific Name:
Monachus schauinslandi
Length:
2.1 to 2.4 m (6.8-7.8 ft)
Weight:
170-240 kg (374-529 lbs)
Status:
edangered
Prey:
fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans

Physical characteristics

Silvery grey on the back, with a cream throat, chest and stomach. Males and some females turn black with age. Females longer and heavier than males.

Behavioral characterization

Adults spend most of their time in the water, hauling out only to breed and give birth. Very solitary, found in groups only during breeding and later in mother/pup pairs.

Distribution

Found only in the Hawaiian Islands

Population size

600

Predators

Sharks

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Non-migratory

Social system/Group size

Primarily solitary. Found in mother/pup pairs while nursing, and in small groups during breeding season.

Major threats

Hunted nearly to extinction by humans. Currently at risk for entanglement in fishing gear, disease spread by pets and livestock, and habitat disruption by coastal development.

Research efforts

Develop a successful program to rear young pups in captivity to reduce high infant mortality. Continue to raise awareness with all regional stakeholders.

Fun fact

The female Hawaiian monk seal doesn't give birth for the first time until she is between 5-10 years old.