Monk Seal Program


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Residents and tourists alike volunteer to protect Kauai’s sweet monk seal population. Hawaiian Monk Seals (Monachus schauinslandi) are among the most endangered creatures on earth. Approximately 85-90% of them live around the tiny, uninhabited Hawaiian Islands and atolls. The ocean and beaches of Kaua`i are home to about 40 to 45 seals. 

It should be noted that harassing or disturbing a monk seal is a federal crime. Penalties upon conviction include fines of $25,000 or more and up to 5 years imprisonment. When you visit our beaches, you may be lucky enough to see a Hawaiian Monk Seal. 

Your help is vital to ensure their survival. Make sure you stay well behind the roped off area around the seal and at least 150 feet away when they are in unmarked areas. Do not walk between the seal and the ocean. Please do not use flashes when photographing the seals. If you see any seal harassment, please contact the Kauai Marine Conservation Coordinator at 808-651-7668 or Police Dispatch at 808-241-6711.

Most pups are born between February and July, although births can occur at any time of the year. Over half of all adult females pup each year. Preferred birthing sites are gently sloping beaches with adjoining shallow water. The obvious advantages are protection from sharks and ease of movement.

At birth, the Hawaiian Monk Seal pup is approximately 3 feet long and weighs between 25 and 30 pounds. It grows to almost 200 pounds in its first six weeks. A pup usually starts swimming with its mother from its first day of life. After the six-week nursing period, the mother weans the pup abruptly, abandoning it to resume her own feeding. The weanling pup will generally remain at its birth beach for a month or two. It will slowly begin to range farther out to sea and eventually learn to feed on its own.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Hui. Volunteers are trained to assist with reporting, monitoring and protection of our monk seals.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Hui or would like more information, please contact: 

NOAA
3060 Eiwa St., Room 306
Lihue, HI 96766
808-651-7668
[email protected]