Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » True Seals: Phocidae - Physical Characteristics, True Seals And People, Conservation Status, Harp Seal (pagophilus Groenlandicus:): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION

True Seals: Phocidae - Hawaiian Monk Seal (monachus Schauinslandi): Species Accounts

females islands accessed july

Physical characteristics: Adult Hawaiian monk seals have short, silvery gray coats, which turn lighter on their undersides. As a seal ages, its coat turns a deep brown with each molt. Females, at about 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) and 528 pounds (270 kilograms), are larger than males. Males measure about 6.9 feet (2.1 meters) long and weigh 385 pounds (175 kilograms).


Geographic range: Hawaiian monk seals are found in the United States.


Habitat: Hawaiian monk seals inhabit the Pacific Ocean waters surrounding the northwestern Hawaiian islands. They breed, rest, and molt on coral reef islands. A small number are found on the main

Hawaiian monk seals live in the Pacific Ocean waters surrounding the northwestern Hawaiian islands. They breed, rest, and molt on coral reef islands. (© Frans Lanting/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Hawaiian Islands. Cows choose breeding areas with a coral shelf that affords protection from the sun and sharks.


Diet: Hawaiian monk seals feed on deep-water fish and other fish found in the coral reefs. They also eat squid, octopuses, and lobsters.


Behavior and reproduction: Hawaiian monk seals are solitary, living alone, except during the breeding season. Females give birth to a single pup that they nurse for four to six weeks. A cow sometimes nurses another cow's pup. Females mate soon after they leave their pups, typically in the water. Bulls are believed to have several partners. In areas where males outnumber females, mobbing occurs, in which a group of adult males attempt to mate at once with an adult or an immature female, sometimes fatally injuring that individual.

These seals are active at night, sleeping during the heat of day. They do not migrate, but may spend many days foraging at sea before going ashore to sleep. They do not tolerant humans. When disturbed, they either do not go ashore to breed or give birth in a less preferred site. Pups usually do not survive under these conditions.

Hawaiian monk seals and people: Hawaiian monk seals have recently inhabited the main Hawaiian islands. Since they are listed as Endangered and, therefore, legally protected, their appearance on tourist beaches has prompted restrictions or closure that may turn people against them.


Conservation status: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and IUCN lists the Hawaiian monk seal as Endangered due to habitat loss to human expansion, lack of young females for mating, male mobbing of females, reduced prey, and entanglement in ocean debris and commercial fishing gear. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Bonner, Nigel. Seals and Sea Lions of the World. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1994.

Cossi, Olga. Harp Seals. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, Inc., 1991.

Grace, Eric S. Sierra Club Wildlife Library: Seals. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991.

Le Boeuf, Burney J., and Richard M. Laws, eds. Elephant Seals: Population Ecology, Behavior, and Physiology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994.

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Seals, Sea Lions and Walruses. New York: Holiday House, 1990.

Reeves, Randall R., Brent S. Stewart, Phillip J. Clapham, and James A. Powell. Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

Periodicals:

Bruemmer, Fred. "Five Days with Fat Hoods." International Wildlife (January/Febrary 1999). Online at http://www.nwf.org/internationalwildlife/1998/hoodseal.html (accessed on July 7, 2004).

Kovacs, Kit. "Bearded Seals: Going with the Floe." National Geographic (March 1997): 124–137.

Tennesen, Michael. "Testing the Depths of Life." National Wildlife (Feb/Mar 1999). Online at http://nwf.org/nationalwildlife/article.cfm?articleId=187&issueid=67 (accessed on July 7, 2004).

Williams, Terrie M. "Sunbathing Seals of Antarctica : The Puzzle Is How Do They Keep Cool? (Weddell Seals)." Natural History (October 2003): 50–56.

Web sites:

"The Hawaiian Monk Seal." Pacific Whale Foundation. http://www.pacificwhale.org/childrens/fsmonkseal.html (accessed on July 7, 2004).

"Hawaiian Monk Seal" Seal Conservation Society. http://www.pinnipeds.org/species/hawaimnk.htm (accessed on July 7, 2004.)

"Pagophilic Seals: Fast Facts." Pagophilus.org: Science and Conservation of Ice Loving Seals. http://www.pagophilus.org/index.html (accessed on July 7, 2004).

"Steller Sea Lion Biology." National Marine Mammal Laboratory. http://nmml.afsc.noaa.gov/AlaskaEcosystems/sslhome/StellerDescription.html (accessed on July 7, 2004).

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