Creature Feature Hawaiian Monk Seal
‘ĪLIO HOLO I KA UAUA
“dog that runs in rough seas”
Hawaiian monk seals are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. In Hawaiian, their name is ‘īlio holo i ka uaua, which means “dog that runs in rough water.” These seals are one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world – only about 1,400 remain, most of which live in the protected waters of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Researchers from NOAA and our partners are working hard to bring this species back from the brink. Thirty percent of the Hawaiian monk seals alive today are here because of those lifesaving efforts.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Neomonachus schauinslandi
DIET: Fish, cephalopods, and invertebrates
AVERAGE SIZE: 6-7.5 feet
AVERAGE WEIGHT: 400-600 pounds
LIFE SPAN: 30 years
GESTATION PERIOD: ~10-11 months
AVERAGE LITTER SIZE: 1 pup
MAXIMUM DIVE DEPTH: 2,000 feet
LOCATION: Main Hawaiian Islands and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian monk seals face a number of threats from humans, including toxoplasmosis from cats, intentional killing, and fisheries interactions. If you see one, give it plenty of space and email email@example.com.