Thoughtful Thursdays: Save the Monk Seals

Published June 14, 2012

From Laura Bankey, Director of Conservation

I recently attended the National Wildlife Federation annual meeting. This is the one time during the year that all state affiliates gather to decide areas of focus for NWF in the future. At this meeting, conservation resolutions are proposed, debated, and voted on.

For this year's consideration, the Conservation Council of Hawaii asked the National Aquarium to be a co-sponsor of the Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Resolution. We gladly signed on, and I'm happy to say the resolution was adopted by the affiliates.

Hawaiian Monk Seal

Photo credit: NOAA

With fewer than 1,100 individuals remaining, the Hawaiian monk seal is the most endangered marine mammal in U.S. waters. Monk seals are at risk due to entanglement in fishing gear and other marine debris, overfishing, inadequate marine protected areas, invasive species, canine diseases, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and intentional killing by individuals who view the seals as competition for declining fish stocks.

Monk Seal Entangled

A Hawaiian monk seal entangled in fishing debris. Photo credit: NOAA

The critical status of the Hawaiian monk seal warrants our immediate and prolonged attention. The fate of this species is intricately related to ocean health issues and to additional pressures we humans are subjecting to this animal and the delicate ecosystem it calls home.

We are calling for federal agencies to implement policies and funding mechanisms that will serve to protect Hawaiian monk seal habitat and promote the recovery and reestablishment of the species throughout its native range.

Previous Post

Featured Stories

luna-grey-seal Animal Rescue Update: Grey and Harbor Seals

A male harbor seal nicknamed Phil and a grey female seal nicknamed Luna are making great progress in rehabilitation with our Animal Rescue and Animal Health teams!

Read the full story

beach-shore-dunes How to Be an Environmentally Responsible Beach Visitor

Show your appreciation for our coastal areas by being an environmentally responsible beach visitor, this Memorial Day weekend and beyond!

Read the full story

Related Stories

How We Help Improve the Health of the Bay

Published June 09, 2017

Our Ocean, by the Numbers

Published June 08, 2017