The Hawaiian monk seal is found primarily in the Leeward Islands, but they sometimes stray eastward to the main Hawaiian group. They were heavily hunted by whalers and sealers in the nineteenth century, and were disturbed again during World War II, when U.S. forces occupied Laysan and Midway islands. Recent surveys have estimated the population at about 1,400 animals. They are fully protected, but they seem very susceptible to attacks by tiger sharks. Of all the monk seals, this species is the best known, because it has been studied in its native habitat, and has been successfully maintained in captivity, particularly at the Waikiki Aquarium.
- Richard Ellis; Aquagenesis: The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Sea
We watched these seals playing together at Ka’ena Point State Park today. Fun times!