Friday, March 20, 2009

Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal

My friend Nancy in West Maui, sent me some photos the other day that were taken by an outstanding Maui photographer named Jimmie Hepp. He has given me permission to show them on this blog and I am very proud. Did you know that the Hawaiian monk seal is an endangered species? Read more Jimmie somehow got these great shots of Hawaiian monk seals coming onto various West Maui beaches for a rest.

This one is just checking things out before he decides to relax.

Thankyou Jimmie for sharing with us. What a treat. I have only seen two monk seals in all our years of coming to Maui. The last one I saw was resting on a black sand beach when we stayed at a fantastic Hana Vacation Rental.
The Maui News had an interesting article about Hawaiian Monk Seals on March 16th. It basically says that even though humans haven't slaughtered the Hawaiian Monk seal since the 19th century, scientist have discovered, through a DNA study, that the Hawaiian Monk seal, for mysterious reasons, has the lowest genetic diversity of any mammal ever studied. According to the article, by staff writer Harry Eagar,this probably means that they have reduced ability to cope with changes to the environment. This has given wildlife biologists a huge challenge as they try to reverse the catastrophic decline in the species, which has been about 4% per year. This article is really worth reading so click here if you are interested.
I was horrified to receive the following letter, the other day from my sister in Canada. I had no idea that commercial hunting of seals was still allowed in my home country. How terribly embarrassing! At the end of the letter there is a link to a petition that you can sign if you would like this slaughter stopped. It may be that only Canadians can sign.

Dear Friend,
On March 3rd, Senator Mac Harb introduced a historic bill to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada. For the first time, Canadians can support a legislative initiative in our own country that would save hundreds of thousands of defenseless seal pups each year from a horrible fate. Sadly, no other Senator has yet stepped forward to support the Bill, and many are organizing to work against it. We risk the “Harb Seal Bill” being lost if we do not act quickly. Please join me in letting our leaders know how you feel about this issue. Send an email to your Senators right away to urge support for Bill S-229(the “Harb Seal Bill”) to end the seal slaughter. It will only take aminute. Click here:

I welcome any comments you have or seal stories you can share with us.
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  1. Unfortunately, I never had a chance of taking a photo of the Hawaiian Monk Seal despite of having lived on the Big Island for so long. A few of our vacation rental guests were lucky though. It also seems to me that Hawaii visitors to Oahu and Maui have a bigger chance to see the monk seals.

    Aloha, Pua
    Best Hawaii Vacation Blog

  2. Interesting that you posted about the Hawaiian Monk Seal. we just got back from Keanae Peninsula and while we were there we were reminiscing the time we saw a Monk Seal there while we were walking on the peninsula. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me at that time. Actuually I wasn't blogging at that time either. :)

  3. Some of the more remote beaches of Kauai have Monk Seals lolling about. There's a photo of one and more information on the Hawaiiphotobank blog. It's a good thing that so many volunteers are protecting their space. Long live the Monks.

  4. All visitors to Hawaii should learn something about these wonderful creatures and understand their responsibilities should they encounter one.
    Hawaiian monk seal