Its primary natural habitat lies in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the most remote part of the Hawaiian chain.
They are called “monk” seals because they are solitary — like monks — and the soft folds of fur around their necks look similar to the cowls worn by monks.
How did the monk seal get its name?
Known to native Hawaiians as ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, or “dog that runs in rough water”, its scientific name is from Hugo Schauinsland, a German scientist who discovered a skull on Laysan Island in 1899. Its common name comes from short hairs on its head, said to resemble a monk.
Why is the Hawaiian monk seal important?
Kehaulani: Monk seals serve an important role in the marine ecosystem, as do most species in these complex webs. Like manō and ulua, monk seals are apex predators and serve to control levels of numerous prey populations to maintain a healthy functioning ecosystem.
Are monk seals dangerous?
The Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world and their population is declining. Monk seals are endemic to Hawaii, meaning they are native and are not found anywhere else in the world.
How many Hawaiian monk seals are left 2019?
There are only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left in the wild, and the population of monk seals in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands is currently declining at a rate of 4 percent per year.