The Hawaiian Monk Seal, Monachus schauinslandi, is one of the rarest of the seal mammals. It is estimated that there are less than 1400 individuals surviving. It is, however, faring a bit better than it’s other warm water cousins, the Caribbean monk seal, which is extinct, and the Mediterranean monk seal which is reduced to less than 600.
It is normally found in the uninhabited northern islands of the Hawaiian Island chain, so it was a bit of a shock to see this one on Maui early one morning in what would soon be a busy and popular spot. I went by a few hours later, and luckily, it had gone.
From these images, its not easy to realize how large it is, which I estimate at about 350kg (800 lbs) and perhaps 2.25 meters ( 8 feet) in length.
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