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Save Punaluu Press Releases » MONK SEAL SIGHTED AT PUNALU`U
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October 5, 2007

MONK SEAL SIGHTED AT PUNALU`U

Filed under: Action Alert — admin @ 8:42 am

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YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

MONK SEAL IS ONE OF ONLY 2 FEMALE SEALS ON ISLAND
– STAY AT LEAST 150 FEET FROM SEAL
– PUNALU`U IS IMPORTANT HABITAT FOR MONK SEALS
– PASSAGE OF RESOLUTION 169-07 PROTECTS HABITAT

According to Dr. Jason P. Turner, Assistant Professor Department of Marine Science University of Hawai’i at Hilo: “We need everyone’s help in monitoring an endangered monk seal female that has recently been hauling out around Punalu’u. I developed the Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network in conjunction with NOAA and DAR and have several UH-Hilo students monitoring monk seals throughout the Big Island. The pup that was sighted at Punalu’u was born at Papaikou last summer and is one of only 2 female seals known to inhabit Hawaii Island. It is essential that we collect information regarding her whereabouts and protect her from well meaning visitors and tourists.

Any information people can provide regarding where the seal is located would be greatly appreciated. You can contact me directly at 808-217-6812 (cell) or 808-933-3114 (office) or call the student network coordinator Melissa Netze (808-756-5961 -cell). Melissa will be surveying Punalu’u and areas around South Point tomorrow (Thursday 9/20) and would appreciate any information anyone can provide. She also plans to be down at the beach on Thurs., Sept 20th. Thanks and again I appreciate any help you can provide.”

STAY AT LEAST 150 FEET FROM SEAL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
While seldom seen along the shores of Punalu`u, the Hawaiian monk seal (Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua) is known to use the area as a habitat and has been sighted along the coast of Ka`u. Researchers are discovering that the population of monk seals in the main Hawaiian islands is less than fifty, but may play a critical role in the survival of the species. The Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandi, is Hawaii’s only pinniped. It is a species that is considered endemic to the islands and is believed to have evolved there. The monk seal is one of Hawaii’s two endemic mammals. Hawaii’s only other endemic mammal is the Hoary bat.

PLEASE STAY AT LEAST 150 FEET FROM SEAL

Learn More About Monk Seals

PUNALU`U IS IMPORTANT HABITAT FOR MONK SEALS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The population of the Hawaiian monk seal is currently estimated to be between 1,500 and 1,200 individuals. They are considered an endangered species and nearly all live and breed in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The monk seal is extremely sensitive to human activity. Mothers often abandon preferred pupping and haul out areas and even their pups prior to weaning, when disturbed by human visitors. Therefore, in order to help protect the species, it is important to enjoy monk seals from a distance, and give them the solitude they need to survive. Scientist believe the population in the main Hawaiian islands may be increasing, making the isolated and sandy coves around Punalu`u critically important to the monk seal’s survival as it is one of the last undeveloped beaches left in Hawai`i.

Learn More About the Critical Habitat at Punalu`u

PASSAGE OF RESOLUTION 169-07 PROTECTS HABITAT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just two days after the Monk Seal was sighted at Punalu`u, the Hawaii County Council passed Resolution 169-07 that will protect this important habitat at Punalu`u forever.

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