Hō‘ailona’s Conservation Observations


Hō‘ailona’s fellow Hawaiian monk seals are in danger of becoming extinct. Currently, there are only 1100 Hawaiian monk seals left in the wild.  That means there are more giant panda bears in the wild than there are Hawaiian monk seals and there are more Starbucks coffee shops in the San Francisco area than there  are Hawaiian monk seals.

That number is smaller than the number of minutes in a day (60 minutes per hour x 24 hours = 1440 minutes in each day). If each monk seal is a minute on an extinction clock we can see how quickly time is running out for the Hawaiian population. In 2007 there were enough monk seal minutes to fill all 24 daytime and nighttime hours of the clock. Last year there were enough monk seal minutes to fill the daytime hours but the nighttime clock ran out at 8:00 PM. In 2009, with only 1100 monk seal left in Hawai‘i we had to turn the nighttime clock hands back to 6:30 PM.


Time is running out for Hawaiian monk seals!


Hō‘ailona asks, are there things that we can do to help turn back the clock and give monk seals more time to live, swim and play in the waters of Hawai‘i?

Click on Take a Minute for Nature to see how you can make a difference for monk seals, the oceans and Nature.




The monk seal extinction clock shows how quickly these seals are disappearing. In the blue part of the clock each minute is filled by one monk seal living in the wild in Hawai‘i. The red part shows the number of monk seals missing since 2007. When the hands reach 12:00 AM both clocks will be filled with red and the Hawaiian monk seal will be gone from the islands forever. We lost one and a half hours in just the last year! How many years will it take before the clocks turn completely red?

Hō‘ailona at his Hawaiian Island home

(Photo by Eric Brown, National Park Service)


Hō‘ailona’s fellow monk seals face many dangers in the ocean today, which are potentially preventing the species from rebounding from their dangerously low numbers.  The good news is there are things we can all do which will help tremendously.  Over the next several months, Hō‘ailona would like to highlight some of the issues his fellow monk seals face daily and the ways each of us can work together to make a difference for all monk seals in the ocean.

This month, Hō‘ailona is highlighting a hazard of great concern, which is entanglement.  Hawaiian monk seals have one of the highest documented entanglement rates of any pinniped species.  This entanglement typically involves rogue fishing gear and various other types of rubbish that find their way from our neighborhoods and beaches to the vast oceans surrounding our land.  However, this is also one of the hazards where we can make a big difference, and Hō‘ailona challenges everyone with a task. 

Hō‘ailona challenges each of us to team up with our friends or classmates and help cleanup our beaches and neighborhoods, and to always recycle when possible.  Performing a beach or neighborhood cleanup and recycling our trash will help tremendously by preventing this pollution from reaching our oceans.  By doing so, we are helping eliminate the potential that Hō‘ailona’s fellow monk seals will become seriously injured by entanglement in trash, fishing gear, or any other hazardous materials.

We cannot do it alone!  Hō‘ailona wants to see everyone

working together to make this happen.  He is charting

our progress on a map that you can follow as well.  He

wants to see each state in the United States, and even

other countries internationally, help with this cause and

see what a difference we can all make.  From the

sandy shores in Hawaii to the very tips of Maine and

Florida, let’s work together and make a difference. 

Get your schools and friends involved and show

Hō‘ailona how much you care.

To see our progress and read more about Hō‘ailona’s challenge, please click How to Help and get all the details.  Also, see how your group can be highlighted on Hō‘ailona’s website.

Help Save Hawaiian Monk Seals