NMFS Focuses on Hawaiian Monk Seal

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has posted the following article discussing the Hawaiian Monk Seal:

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of
NOAA Fisheries’ Species in the Spotlight.

The Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schaunislandi) is the last surviving species in its genus, and is endemic to the 1,500-mile-long Hawaiian Islands archipelago, from Hawaii Island to Kure Atoll.

Only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals are left in the world and their population is still declining. With numbers that small, the life of every seal can be measured in its impact on the population growth or decline. Focused efforts and heightened partnerships are essential to stabilizing and preventing the extinction of the Hawaiian monk seal. There are inherent challenges to conserving and recovering the Hawaiian monk seal across such an expansive and remote area, especially with a range of ecological and anthropogenic threats affecting the population. Even so, NOAA Fisheries is better poised than ever to save Hawaiian monk seals from extinction and advance recovery.

Hawaiian monk seals face threats that include food limitations in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, especially for juveniles and sub-adults, entanglement in marine debris, and human interactions, especially in the main Hawaiian Islands. These human interactions include bycatch in fishing gear, mother-pup disturbance on beaches, and exposure to disease. Other threats to Hawaiian monk seals include loss of haul-out and pupping beaches due to erosion in Northwest Hawaiian Islands, disease outbreaks, male aggression towards females, and low genetic diversity.”

Click here to read the rest of NMF’s article.

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