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The Hawaiian Monk Seal

The rarest Seal in US waters

Hawaiian Monk Seals are an endangered species – There are only about 1,400 animals left. They are a rare sight and quite charismatic, but if you see a Hawaiian monk seal in the wild, it’s important that you keep your distance. They are negatively impacted by the presence of humans and since they are an endangered species, it is especially important for humans to give them space.


Keeping your distance is for their safety – and your safety!

Your tips for safe Hawaiian monk seal viewing:

  • Draw a line in the sand! Keep a large distance from seals on the beach or in the water. 

  • Stay behind signs and ropes.

  • Use your zoom – no #sealfies allowed!

  • If you are fishing, reel in your line if monk seals are near.

  • Report monk seal sightings by contacting your local stranding network, or sending an email Provide the following information:

    • Date and time.

    • Descriptive location—including island, beach name, and GPS coordinates (if available).

    • Estimated size of seal (length).

    • Identifying characteristics (flipper tags, scars, or other markings).

    • Seal's behavior—including interactions with people and other animals.

    • Photos (if possible).

  • Report a sick, injured, entangled, stranded, or dead animal to the Pacific Islands Marine Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline at        (888) 256-9840. Reporting ensures that professional responders and scientists know about it and can take appropriate action. Numerous organizations around the Pacific Islandsare trained to receive reports and respond when necessary.

Hawaiian monk seal

Photo: Doug Perrine

Hawaiian monk seals are a critically endangered species. They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. Under Hawaiʻi law, the harassment of a monk seal is considered a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment and fines.

Monk Seal & Turtl
Hawaiian Monk Seal

 If you are on the Island Of Hawaiʻi & would like more information or to volunteer visit:

Ke Kai Ola | The Marine Mammal Center
73-4460 Queen Ka’ahumanu Hwy, Suite 112 

Kailua Kona, HI 96740 

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