There’s another resident that you may see on the beach, if you’re especially lucky: The Hawaiian Monk Seal.
They are critically endangered, with approx. 1,100 survivors. They are only found in Hawaii. Monk seals are the oldest of all the phocids, or true seals, on the planet in terms of their evolutionary history. Their cousins the Caribbean Monk Seal are now extinct.
If you see one on the beach, it’s not in trouble. Its most likely sleeping off a very big meal (sushi coma). If they are disturbed and forced back into the water, they are particularly vulnerable to tiger shark predation. Another reason not to approach: as cute as they are, they smell awful (like fish oil gone bad) ;)
We are legally required to keep a healthy distance and not disturb them. Please report any sightings to NOAA. In many cases a volunteer will come out, stake out the area and keep watch.
To report monk seal sightings: Email email@example.com or call Maui’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator.
• Maui/Lanai: (808) 292-2372
This beautiful female is a regular around Launiupoko.
Part time Maui resident sharing my Kihei condo with guests when I'm staying in my mainland home.