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Hawaiian Monk Seal News

  Monk seal  
  A Hawaiian monk seal swimming in waters of Hawaii.
Photo: Kaua`i Monk Seal Watch Program

Learn more about Hawaiian monk seals by reading the major news regarding the Hawaiian monk seal over the past few years.


Push to save Hawaiian monk seals

February 3rd, 2010 | Hawaii News Now | By: Lisa Kubota

The Hawaiian monk seal population is steadily declining, and 3 of the endangered animals were killed last year. Their deaths have prompted lawmakers to take action. A bill introduced by State Senator Gary Hooser will be discussed during a hearing at the state capitol on Tuesday.

Fewer Hawaiian monk seal pups

February 1st, 2010 | Honolulu Advertiser| By: Christie Wilson

The 2009 Hawaiian monk seal breeding season produced the fewest pups in at least 10 years as the highly endangered marine mammal species continued its slide toward possible extinction.

Reward for monk seal killer increases

January 14th, 2010 | The Garden Island| By: Coco Zickos

An anonymous donor has pledged $10,000 to Surfrider Foundation in an effort to help indict the killers of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals found dead last year on the Westside of Kaua‘i and on Moloka‘i.

Monk seal attack investigaton ongoing

December 27th, 2009 | Garden Island | By: Paul Curtis

LIHU‘E — “Maha‘ulepu Mama” is no Hawaiian monk seal to mess with. She takes her role in perpetuating the endangered species very seriously, and woe to the woman or man who comes too close to her newborn. Scientifically known as K12, she has given birth to at least four pups at Maha‘ulepu Beach on the South Shore. The most recent, PK4 (sex unknown at present), was earlier this month. Authorities are continuing to investigate an encounter Monday that involved K12 taking a few bites out of Rebecca Wahlman, 28, of Kirkland, Wash.

Monk seal's death on Molokai investigated as a deliberate killing

December 18th , 2009 | Honolulu Advertiser | By: Diana Leone

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the recent death of an endangered Hawaiian monk seal on Molokai as a deliberate killing. An adult male monk seal was discovered dead on Monday, southeast of Kaunakakai, said David Schofield, with NOAA’s Pacific Island Regional Office’s marine mammal response program. A necropsy of the seal on Tuesday determined that it had been killed intentionally, Schofield said.

Threatened seals forage far from home, cameras show

December 16th, 2009 | National Geographic

Despite their remote and tranquil habitat, the seals are now on the brink of extinction. The population declined rapidly from 1985 to 1993 but has remained relatively stable during the last decade. Today there are only about 1,300 monk seals left in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Another ominous statistic to consider: In the main breeding colony, at French Frigate Shoals, only two out of ten pups born survive their second birthday. Researchers believe that inability to successfully forage is one of the principal causes of monk seal mortality. Aggressive males killing adult females as well as juvenile seals is also a problem. Add to that monk seals falling prey to sharks and getting entangled in marine debris.

Koki monk seal pup born at Koki Beach Park, Hana, Maui

October 9th, 2009 | Maui Daily| By: Dr. Leisure


Kauai man sent to jail for killing endangered monk seal

September 25th, 2009 | KOHN 2 | By: Marisa Yamane

A 78-year old Kauai man will spend the next 90 days in jail for the shooting death of an endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Charles Vidinha pled guilty today in Federal Court. Federal prosecutors agreed to the 90 day sentence because they could not prove that Vidinha intentionally killed the endangered monk seal. She was known as RK-06.

Eye problems consign boisterous seal to captivity

November 12th, 2009 | The Wall Street Journal | By: Chris Herring

A monk seal named KP2, known for his boisterous play with swimmers off the Hawaiian island of Molokai, will require eye surgery that will force him into permanent captivity at a marine-life park.

Vision keeps monk seal in captivity

October 20th, 2009 | Star Bulletin | By: Leila Fujimori

KP2, the first Hawaiian monk seal pup reared by humans from birth, and who was found "playing rough" with people on Molokai, has lost his sight and will not be re-released into the wild, said a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official.

This baby seal is a people person, and that makes him dangerous

September 15th, 2009 | The Wall Street Journal| By: Chris Herring

Hawaii's KP2 made his name loving humans, but his ardor is getting growing pup deported.

Hawaiian monk seal too friendly?

September 15th, 2009 | CBS News | By: John Blackstone

An unusually friendly baby monk seal on the Hawaiian island of Molokai has been showing off his playfulness in YouTube videos and beach photos. The 17-month-old seal clearly loves people, says Eric Demmers, who took the pictures. "He'll pretty much give you a hug. He likes to be petted. He just acts like a big dog." He was abandoned hours after birth and raised by a wildlife rescue team who named him KP2. But now that he's grown to 175 pounds his playfulness could turn dangerous, because mature seals can hold people under water.

Endangered monk seals to have Critical Habitat on Main Hawaiian Islands

monk seals

Monk seals on a remote beach on the north shore of Kauai, one of the main Hawaiian islands. (Photo: Kaiana)

June 11th, 2009 | Environment News Service

A Hawaiian monk seal pulls out of the ocean and flops down at one end of Sandy Beach, on Oahu's southeast shore, far from the surfers at the other end. She basks in the sun near the water's edge, moving a little up the beach away from the incoming tide.

A volunteer stakes off a wide area around her with yellow tape to keep curious tourists from approaching too close. He says this same seal was spotted miles away on another Oahu beach several days ago.

The half-ton marine mammal is one of only about 1,200 individuals still alive today. But new habitat protections that the federal government will declare Friday could bring endangered Hawaiian monk seals back from the brink.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service will designate critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands and expand criticial habitat that already exists in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Kauai loses one of its own

May 23rd, 2009 | Garden Island

A pregnant mother of four, RK06 died Thursday after suffering from a suspected gun shot wound. The long-time North Shore resident was a critical member of her community, investing tremendous energy in raising her children. Known locally as ilio-holo-ikauaua (the dog that runs in rough waters), she enjoyed fishing and basking in the sun on secluded beaches.

Increased federal funding planned for endangered Hawaiian monk seal

March 2nd , 2009 | The Garden Island | By: Coco Zickos

In response to conservation efforts for America’s most endangered marine mammal, Hawai‘i is expected to receive some $5.7 million for fiscal year 2009 to support the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Plan. The funding marks a $3.6 million increase over last year’s amount.

Will to Survive

December 24th, 2008 | Star Bulletin | By: Laurie Au

A 7-month-old Hawaiian monk seal nursed back to health by scientists appeared to be thriving during its first week back in the wild in what officials say was a "pioneering achievement." The male pup, named KP2, was the youngest Hawaiian monk seal ever to be raised by scientists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and later released successfully into the wild.

Monk Seal Returns to the Wild

December 16th, 2008 | Star Bulletin | By: AP

The Coast Guard flew a 7-month-old Hawaiian monk seal yesterday from Oahu to a secret location where scientists will release it into the wild. Biologists expect to spend a few days monitoring how the pup is doing before returning. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been nursing the seal to health after it was found abandoned on a remote part of Kauai's North Shore just one day after it was born in May.

Crew removes Kure Atoll's marine debris

November 11th, 2008 | Star Bulletin | By: Star-Bulletin staff

Crew members from a Honolulu-based Coast Guard cutter removed four tons of nets and debris from Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands last week, Coast Guard officials said yesterday. Federal and state officers rescued seven Hawaiian monk seals, five black-footed albatrosses and a tern from entanglement in just the past two years alone, said Cynthia Vanderlip, manager of the state of Hawaii's Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary. The Coast Guard's removal of the nets and debris will help prevent such entanglements, she added.

Sea of Trash

June 22nd , 2008 | The New York Times | By: Donovan Hohn

Off Gore Point, where tide rips collide, the rolling swells rear up and steepen into whitecaps. Quiet with concentration, Chris Pallister decelerates from 15 knots to 8, strains to peer through a windshield blurry with spray, tightens his grip on the wheel and, like a skier negotiating moguls, coaxes his home-built boat, the Opus — aptly named for a comic-strip penguin — through the chaos of waves. Our progress becomes a series of concussions punctuated by troughs of anxious calm. In this it resembles the rest of Pallister’s life.

Hawaiian monk seal named Hawaii's state mammal

June 15th, 2008 | Hawaii Magazine| By: Sherie Char

Congratulations to the Hawaiian monk seal—now our official state mammal. Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona signed a bill into law last week giving the endangered and much-beloved seal the official designation. Wildlife experts—who have long considered the seal one of the world’s most-endangered species—hope the move will raise international awareness about the native Hawaii mammal’s plight.

Caribbean monk seal becomes extinct

June 7th, 2008 | USA Today | By: Jaymes Song, AP

Federal officials have confirmed what biologists have long thought: The Caribbean monk seal has gone the way of the dodo.Humans hunting the docile creatures for research, food and blubber left the population unsustainable, say biologists who warn that Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals could be the next to go.

Baby boom

May 16th, 2008 | Star Bulletin

Two monk seals were born this week on Oahu, delivering a new record -- three -- for seals born within a year on the island, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The young seals also raised the total number of pups born in the main Hawaiian Islands since the beginning of the year to 10, compared to seven at this time last year, which saw a total of 13 newborn pups.

Orphan seal pup found

  Monk seal  

A female monk seal barked at the newborn pup she abandoned friday on a north shore beach on kauai. scientists are nursing the pup at a facility on oahu.


May 4th, 2008 | Star Bulletin

A team of marine experts is working to save a newborn Hawaiian monk seal abandoned by its mother on Kauai. "We've never dealt with a seal this young before and are guardedly optimistic," said Charles Littnan of the Monk Seal Research Program in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration news release. "The animal will be stressed and susceptible to disease so strict quarantine measures will be observed." The male pup, believed to be about three days old, was flown yesterday from Kauai to the NOAA Fisheries Kewalo Research Facility on Oahu on a Coast Guard C-130. A bystander found the animal in a remote area of Kauai's north shore and reported it Friday morning. A NOAA team went to Kauai and experts tried to reintroduce the pup to its mother, but the female monk seal barked at it and displayed aggressive behavior. She appeared more interested in an adult male seal, said NOAA spokeswoman Wende Goo.

Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals Need Funding

April 30th, 2008 | K5 News | By: Tracy Gladden

As one of the most endangered marine mammals in America, the fight to save the Hawaiian Monk Seal is going national. Hawaiian monk seals, like those at the Waikiki Aquarium, could be extinct by the end of this century.


Hawaiian Monk Seal Count

April 20th, 2008 | Hawaii News Now | By: Paul Drewes & Sean Ibara

Saturday, the annual Hawaiian monk seal count was held statewide. Monk seals are often spotted on Hawaii's beaches lying in the sand, but that could change in the future.

Chester the monk seal is found dead on island

March 28 th, 2008 | Star Bulletin| By: Gene Park

After more than five years of making appearances around the state's beaches, a "celebrity" Hawaiian monk seal was found dead Wednesday. Hawaiian monk seal RK15, dubbed Chester, was found dead Wednesday afternoon on Rabbit Island. At about 4:30 p.m. a team of marine mammal experts retrieved the carcass.

Fish steal food from rare seals, undersea camera shows

November 27th, 2007 | National Geographic News | By: Rebecca Carroll

Food competition is tough for Hawaiian monk seals in the protected waters of Hawaii's remote northwestern islands. Scientists suspected as much, but they didn't know enough about the competition threatening the seals, which are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. So they attached small cameras—called Crittercams—to 42 monk seals to see if they could document the seals' interactions with fish.

More seal deaths in years with El Nino

June 11th, 2007 | Star Bulletin| By: Diana Leone

An average of 11 endangered Hawaiian monk seals die needlessly -- ensnared in cast-off fishing nets or some other ocean garbage. But scientists are finding that more seals drown or are suffocated that way in years with El Niño warming of ocean surface waters.

On faraway shoals, researchers struggle to save the seals

  Monk seal in marine debirs  
  A Hawaiian monk seal swimming in waters of Hawaii.
Photo: Kaua`i Monk Seal Watch Program

October 31st, 2006 | The New York Times | By: Joe Spring

TERN ISLAND, Hawaii — In a small white cinder block room here in the French Frigate Shoals, five monk-seal biologists crowded around a dead Hawaiian monk seal laid out on a table covered with white plastic. The pup’s black eyes reflected the light and its whiskers quivered at a touch, but a shark had bitten off its hind flippers. A large gash and 14 smaller cuts pockmarked its back. When the scientists had finished doing the animal equivalent of an autopsy, had taken samples for testing and removed the seal, Suzanne Canja, a field biologist, took a moment to contemplate the empty table. “Another poor little guy,” she said. “It’s really sad.”

A struggle to preserve a Hawaiian Archipelago and its varied wildlife

December 19th, 2006 | The New York Times | By: Christopher Pala

MIDWAY ATOLL, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument — As the pilot of the Coast Guard C-130 transport plane banks and circles over atoll after deserted atoll on a five-hour, 1,400-mile flight from Honolulu, the sheer emptiness of the world’s largest nature reserve becomes starkly apparent. Yet two of the most powerful men in the world — first President Bill Clinton and then President Bush — struggled for eight years to upgrade the area into a true reserve, in a process that involved more than 100 public meetings and 52,000 public comments, most of them supportive. The main obstacle was a tiny, marginally profitable fishing fleet composed of eight boats and employing fewer than 20 people, most of them part-time, but vigorously defended by a powerful senator and an entrenched federal bureaucracy.

Hawaiian marine reserve to be world's largest

June 15th, 2006 | Washington Post | By: Juliet Eilperin

President Bush plans to designate an island chain spanning nearly 1,400 miles of the Pacific northwest of Hawaii as a national monument today, creating the largest protected marine reserve in the world, according to sources familiar with the plan. Establishing the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a strictly protected marine reserve, which Bush is slated to announce this afternoon, could prove to be the administration's most enduring environmental legacy. The roughly 100-mile-wide area encompasses a string of uninhabited islands that support more than 7,000 marine species, at least a fourth of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

Global warming may swamp hawaiian wildlife, study warns

June 5th, 2006 | National Geographic News | By: James Owen

A chain of tiny, remote Hawaiian islands could become the largest marine sanctuary in the U.S. as soon as next year. But the rare wildlife living there could disappear beneath the waves by the end of this century because of global warming, a new study warns. A team of Hawaii-based scientists calculates that two-thirds of some islands in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) could be submerged by 2100.




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Saving the Hawaiian monk seal