According to Marine Mammal Center there are a small number of Hawaiian monk seals in the Hawaiian Island. The number is around 1500 with more of these living in the northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian name for the monk seal is Ilioholokauaua or “dog running in rough seas”.
In the late 19th century, Hawaiian monk seals were hunted almost to extinction. Due to the efforts of organizations like the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration 30% of Hawaiian monk seals are alive today. Thankfully, these sea animals are now increasing in population but are still considered endangered.
Threats to the Hawaiian Monk Seal include separation from the mother, malnutrition, entanglement, eating ocean trash, and predation. Also, toxoplasmosis and human interaction can be problematic.
It’s important to keep your distance from monk seals to ensure they aren’t disturbed. Mother seals will nurse their pups for up seven weeks on the beach, which make them vulnerable to human interaction.
NOAA recommends keeping a safe distance of 150 feet when spotting a Hawaiian Monk Seal.