I am so excited to share these wonderful photos of a Hawaiian Monk Seal resting on the beach. Years ago I remember seeing one way out by a bouy while fishing in the ocean. Up until that time I had seen very few as they were rarely sighted close to or on the populated islands.
Now, we see them a bit more often, and it is really special. Even so, it is estimated that there are fewer than 1,000 Hawaiian Monk Seals living today. They are endangered and offically became the Hawaii State mammal in 2008.
Most seals prefer colder waters, the Hawaiian Monk seal lives in warm waters in the northern most islands of the Hawiian Island chain. They forage on lobsters, fish and octopus...and are very sleek in the water.
They will haul themselves out onto the sand to rest in the heat of the day. A seal will often spend the afternoon sunning and napping on a beach. Whenever one is spotted, someone will call a ranger to come and rope off the area so the seal will not be disturbed. It is a bit clumsy on land, and could easily be bothered by someone coming too close. Most people who live in Hawaii are very protective of the seal and will make sure that people keep their distance.
This particular Monk Seal was spotted at Kamakahonu Bay in Kona a few weeks ago. My dear Ilana Maxwell snapped these wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing your photos, Ilana! She said that beachgoers had drawn a line in the sand around the female seal to give her space while she lounged on the beach. Look at that face,she looks pretty comfortable.
Malama ke kai..take care of the oceans..