Hawaiian Monk Seal

The Hawaiian monk seal is among the most endangered of all seal species, although its cousin species the Mediterranean Monk Seal (M. monachus) is even rarer, and the Caribbean Monk Seal (M. tropicalis), last sighted the 1950s, was officially declared extinct in June 2008. The population of Hawaiian monk seals is in decline. In 2010, it was estimated that only 1100 individuals remain. It is listed as critically endangered. The Hawaiian monk seal was officially designated as an endangered species on November 23, 1976, and is now protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Today, even though the islands are protected, many scientists believe that the effects of human activity along these fragile coastlines (and in the world at large) are still taking their toll.

It is illegal to kill, capture or harass a Hawaiian monk seal.

To raise awareness for the species' plight, the Hawaiian monk seal was declared Hawaii's official State Mammal on June 11, 2008 by Lieutenant Governor James Aiona.

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