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Wisdom Wednesday | Hawaiian Monk Seal

Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday 06/16/2021

Image of a Hawaiian Monk Seal pup on a beach in Hawaii. Photo by @creationscape on Instagram. Photo by Michael B. Hardie

Hawaiian Monk Seals got their name because the folds on their skin look similar a monk’s cowl. Additionally, like a monk, these seals tend to live in solitary. When these seals are born, they are black in color. They turn to shades of gray and brown as they mature. Once a year, a Hawaiin Monk Seal will shed its skin and fur, or molt. Hawaiians refer to the seal as “Ilio holo I ka uaua” which means “dog that runs in rough water”. This particular species of seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, with only about 1,200 individuals counted in 2016. These seals were hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. Marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments are especially important in helping to protecting this highly endangered species. Hawaiin Monk Seals also face the threat of habitat loss and often have to compete for food with other predators. These seals are generally 7-7.5 feet in length and weigh up to 450 pounds.

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