Fast Facts About Monk Seals

  1. Hawaiian Monk Seals are Hawaiian natives and are found only in Hawaii and on Johnston Atoll.

  2. The biggest threats to Hawaiian monk seals are entanglement, food limitation, disease, shark bites, and climate change.

  3. The current population of Monk Seals is about 1100 animals.

  4. In comparison to other marine mammals, the Hawaiian monk seal has a lower metabolic rate, meaning that it will eat less fish over the course of its lifetime.

  5. Monk seals can dive as deep as 1500ft but generally average about 200 feet.

  6. Monk seals are predicted to consume between 5.8 and 12.9% of their body mass in food each day.

  7. Monk seals live between 25 and 30 years.

  8. Monk seals are the oldest of all the phocids, or true seals, on the planet in terms of their evolutionary history. Current research indicates that they have been present on the Hawaiian Islands for several million years!

  9. The Caribbean monk seal, a close cousin of the Hawaiian monk seal, went extinct in 1952. The Mediterranean monk seal is also critically endangered with only about 500 individuals left in the wild.

  10. Over 20% of the remaining population of Hawaiian monk seals are alive today as a direct result of conservation efforts.

You can learn more about monk seals at the following websites:

You can also download the following informational brochures published by the NOAA:

pdfNatural History of Monk Seals

pdfMonk Seal Timeline

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  • Marine Mammal Physiology Project
    Center for Ocean Health
    Monk Seal | TM Williams
    University of California
  • 100 Shaffer Road
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060