With fewer than 1,100 left in existence, the Hawaiian monk seal is one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals. The monk seal is millions of years old and one of our ocean’s oldest inhabitants. Their arrival in the Hawaiian archipelago predates human colonization of the Hawaiian Islands. But the monk seals are in severe decline, due to impacts from entanglement in marine trash, unintentional hooking and entanglement in fishing gear, and loss of habitat for pupping and resting.
While most of the population suffers from steep declines in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a small population of seals in the main Hawaiian Islands is increasing, which is promising for the future of the species.
But with the numbers of monk seals increasing in the main Hawaiian Islands, occurrences of human-seal interactions are on the rise. Therefore, it is important for federal and state agencies and partners to work with native Hawaiians, local residents, fisherman, and visitors to co-exist with the seals.
However, US Congress threatens to severely reduce the vital funding that makes community education and partnerships possible. This funding is necessary to help the species recover.
So far, the Congressional delegation from Hawai`i has mostly heard from individuals who are opposed to monk seal recovery actions. The Hawaiian monk seal needs you to speak up on behalf of these kūpuna of the sea! Please add your own personal note and send the message below urging the delegation of Hawai`i to support efforts to keep Hawaiian monk seals from going extinct.
As the population of endangered Hawaiian monk seals, which are found only in Hawai`i, continues to decline overall, enhanced recovery efforts are needed to save the species. The monk seal population is increasing in the main Hawaiian Islands, which is promising for the future of the species. However, this increase will likely result in a rise of human-seal interactions, including unintentional hooking and entanglement in fishing gear and disturbances on beaches where seals pup or rest. Enhanced ability to respond to these threats and to work on education and outreach efforts are needed.
Unfortunately, over the last several years, federal funding for the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal has been cut by more than 30%. Therefore, vital recovery efforts are in jeopardy – including working with Hawai’i residents and visitors to protect the seals.
As a Hawaiian deeply concerned with our marine environment and wildlife, I respectfully request that you restore federal funding to a level of $5.7 million in 2014 to ensure the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal.