Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal
One of the United States' most endangered mammal, the population of these beautiful Hawaiian Monk Seals (`Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua) are on a steady decline of about ~10% a year. There is currently about a little over a thousand left, spread throughout the Hawaiian islands as well as the NorthWestern island chains. The first official sighting and documentation of these animals started in the early 1800s and presumably originated from ancestors that date back in time and are the most primitive living members of the Family Phocidae, having separated from other true seals perhaps 15 million years ago. This youngster kept coming by me just begging for a picture, so here you go Ms. or Mr. Monk Seal! Going to a park attraction to see these animals is one thing but to see them out in the wild open ocean like I did here is quite an experience, esp. when it keeps wanting to hangout with me. By law, you are supposed to stay within a certain distance so as not to disturb them so I tried my best to keep away.
Here's a recent Monk Seal story in the news:
Labels: Hawaiian Monk Seal