This female monk seal comes back this time every year to the beach in front of Napili Kai. Her visit is much-anticipated by our staff and guests alike. She comes up on the beach to rest for several hours, sometimes the entire day.
The National Marine Fisheries Service requires that people stay 150 feet away from monk seals so we put up chains and signs to prevent her from being bothered.
This can sometimes be a bit of an inconvenience, if not amusing for sunbathers and swimmers alike. Last year a swimmer came out of the water to find that our female monk seal had taken a liking to her beach bag and laid down on it – for the afternoon! Our Recreations staff kept an eye on both the seal and the bag until the seal went back in the water. The bag and its contents may have been returned a bit squished, but it was a unique souvenir of a day at Napili Kai.
- Scientific name: Monachus schauinsland.
- Hawaiian name: `ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua, which means dog running in the rough seas.
- Oldest living species of seal on the planet.
- One of the most endangered animal species in the world, only around 1,100 remain and their population is in decline.
- Adult Hawaiian monk seals are about 5-7 feet in length and weight about 400-600 pounds.
- The female is slightly larger than the male.
- Their life expectancy is 25-30 years.
- Around 1,100 monk seals remain.
- They eat a variety of fish species ranging from the reef to the depths of over 1,500 feet. They also eat squid, octopus, eels, and several types of crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, and lobster). Monk seals hunt for food outside the immediate shoreline areas, primarily in the region that is 60-300 feet deep.
- Official state mammal of Hawaii.
This is an interesting brochure if you’re interested in the Natural History and Conservation of the Hawaiian Monk Seal.