Questions, Answers, and Links for Additional Information


February 2, 2010  (From Washington DC)

What is the current status of the monk seal population?

Monk seals are a critically endangered species worldwide.  Historically, there were three species of monk seals:

1.The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi), which is found in the Northwest and Main Hawaiian Islands and has a population of approximately 1,100 individuals remaining;

2.The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) which is found in the western Mediterranean Sea (primarily off the coasts of Greece and Turkey) and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Africa and on the island of Madeira), and has a population of approximately 500 individuals remaining; and

3.The Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis) which was found in the Caribbean Sea but is now extinct after centuries of human exploitation and hunting.

The dire status of the two existing monk seal populations has necessitated international conservation initiatives.  NOAA scientists and managers are working with experts around the world to help recover monk seals, and the information gained from treating and monitoring Hō‘ailona’s development will help future conservation efforts for the species. 


about Hawaiian monk seals and Hō‘ailona

With all of his travels, Hō‘ailona has made friends across the oceans, from the islands to the US mainland.  With so many people interested in him and his monk seal family we have received a lot of questions.  To help provide answers post your questions on Hō‘ailona’s Facebook page (Ho’ailona Monk Seal) and we will periodically select one to answer here.