Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Species Account/Monachus schauinslandi

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Monachus schauinslandi (Hawaiian Monk Seal)

Where found: Hawaiian Monk Seals are found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and only occasionally seen around the major islands of Ni'ihau and Kaua'i—very rarely on beaches on O'ahu or the other islands. The largest population (less than 400 animals in 2002) occurs at French Frigate Shoals.

Description: Mature Hawaiian Monk Seals feature a grey pelage, or coat which turns brown with weathering. Young Hawaiian Monk Seals are silver with creamy white bellies, chests and throats. Pups are black and woolly with fuzzy short hair. Newborn pups are clad in a black natal fur. Hawaiian monk seals tend to sport scars from attempted shark attacks or injuries from fishing gear. Hawaiian Monk Seals are one of the most endangered species of all seals, although its cousin species the Mediterranean Monk Seal (M. monachus) is equally rare, and the Caribbean Monk Seal (M. tropicalis), last seen off Yucatan, became extinct in the 1950s. It is estimated that fewer than 1,400 Hawaiian Monk Seals existed in 2004.


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