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Cuts Threaten Future of Critically Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal

There are less than 1,200 Hawaiian monk seals left in the world. Without intervention and sufficient help, within a generation, the species could be extinct.

For one of only two warm water seals left on earth, that would be a sad end.

Monk seal thrived in the oceanic waters and coral reefs of the Hawaiian Islands for an estimated 13 million years, undisturbed by man or man-made ocean degradation. Today, the Hawaiian monk seal is critically endangered due to a variety of human caused factors; the species headed towards extinction.

Hawaiian monk seal are the most endangered marine mammal that lives solely in U.S. waters. Hence, its fate depends solely on our actions. In the last 50 years, the Hawaiian monk seal population has declined by more than 60% and is now at its lowest level in recorded history.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has the fate of the seal in its hands as it runs the program that is responsible for endangered marine mammal recovery. Unfortunately, NOAA seems to be pulling its critical support at a time when the recovery program is finally turning the tide on monk seal losses.

Despite the hard won and significant successes of NOAA scientists in the last several years that have reduced the rate of monk seal decline to almost zero in the larger population that lives in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, spending on the monk seal for this year includes a cut of $1 million from last year’s amount, a decrease of 30%.

The spending cuts will eliminate a substantial amount of the recovery effort and research taking place in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where the population continues to struggle for survival and important programs to protect the growing seal populations in the main Hawaiian Islands. It seems foolish for NOAA to sabotage its own legally mandated program.

The cut is particularly mystifying since spending for all marine mammals went up by more than $2 million this year, and the fisheries agency of NOAA responsible for the seal among other things received an increase of approximately $100 million.

As with many endangered species recovery efforts, the cost of recovering depleted species is not cheap. What man has decimated over decades or centuries takes time and money to restore. The federal government has not shied away from expending funds for Pacific salmon, the Steller sea lion, the right whale, the gray wolf and the bald eagle. Indeed, this is what the law requires.

Groups are rallying to stop the budget cuts. The Marine Conservation Institute and theMonk Seal Foundation have both launched petitions to stop the devastating cuts. Marine Conservation Institute’s petition can be found here.

While the politics and human dimensions of wildlife management are often complex, extinction itself is eerily simple: once a species is gone, it’s gone forever.

Extinction would be an awful thing to allow to happen on our watch since Hawai’i and the U.S. government are exclusively responsible for the Hawaiian monk seals’ recovery, or demise.

View original article here.

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HELP NEEDED FROM PUBLIC TO LOCATE DISTRESSED MONK SEAL (MOLOKA‘I)

CONTACT: Trisha Kehaulani Watson                                       Pat Wardell

INSTITUTION: Marine Conservation Institute                       Monk Seal Foundation

PHONE: (808) 392-1617                                                               (808) 268-6758

EMAIL: watson@honuaconsulting.com                                   pat@monksealfoundation.org

WEB:  marine-conservation.org                                                  monksealfoundation.org

              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

HELP NEEDED FROM PUBLIC TO LOCATE DISTRESSED MONK SEAL

 

Emaciated seal would return to Moloka‘i after assessment and treatment on O‘ahu

 

KALAUPAPA, HI (May 16, 2013) – Monk seal advocacy groups are asking for the public’s help to locate a sick and severely malnourished Hawaiian monk seal known to frequent the Kalaupapa area in the county of Kalawao, Moloka‘i. Experts are concerned about her health and want to bring the seal to O‘ahu for assessment and treatment at the Waikīkī Aquarium. The seal would be returned to Kalaupapa after recovery.

 

“The seal we are looking for would appear ill and its ribs or other skeletal features would likely be visible. We are asking people to keep an eye out for this seal in the water or on the beach,” explains Pat Wardell, President of the Monk Seal Foundation, a Hawaii based organization that recently took over management of the monk seal volunteer program on Moloka‘i.

 

“If found the seal would be airlifted to O‘ahu where veterinarians can conduct a health assessment and treat any medical conditions. When the seal recovers, it will be returned to Molokai, ” stated David Schofield, NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Response Coordinator.

 

The seal is a female yearling known as RL26. She was born in Kalaupapa in 2012.

 

Public cooperation is essential to monk seal recovery. “We urge the residents of Moloka‘i to help locate this seal,” asks Trisha Kehaulani Watson, the Hawai‘i representative for Marine Conservation Institute. “We have seen how public cooperation and timely treatment can be the difference between life and death for monk seals that are in distress.”

 

The groups have provided a photo of the seal, in which is appears severely malnourished and ill. Anyone that locates this seal or has information on its whereabouts should contact the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

 

 

 

###

 

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905

Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

 

About Marine Conservation Institute

 

Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting marine ecosystems. We work with scientists, politicians, government officials and other organizations in the United States and around the world to fashion solutions to problems affecting marine ecosystems which are long lasting and compatible with sustainable ocean use. Honua Consulting represents Marine Conservation Institute in Hawai’i.

 

About Monk Seal Foundation

The Monk Seal Foundation is a Hawaii based non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. We actively work with volunteers, government agencies, and other non-profits to both protect the monk seals and to engage and educate the public.

 

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit:  NOAA Permit Number 932-1905 Suggested Caption:  This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away.  Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

Photo Credit: NOAA Permit Number 932-1905
Suggested Caption: This severely emaciated and sick monk seal needs help right away. Please call the NOAA Fisheries Monk Seal Hotline if you locate it at 1-888-256-9840.

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DLNR SEEKS COMMUNITY’S HELP TO FIND HOOKED MONK SEAL ON MAUI (Media Advisory)

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Media Advisory

 

NEIL ABERCROMBIE

GOVERNOR

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

WILLIAM J. AILA, JR., CHAIRPERSON

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

For immediate release:  Thursday, May 16, 2013

DLNR SEEKS COMMUNITY’S HELP TO FIND HOOKED MONK SEAL ON MAUI

Fisherman’s Timely Reporting Triggers Cooperative Response Action

 

 

WHEN:        3:30 p.m. Thursday May 16

 

WHERE:         DLNR first floor makai breezeway, 1151 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, 96813

 

WHO:         William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson

David Schofield, NOAA Marine Mammal Health and Response Program Manager

WHAT:         State and Federal officials will speak about a recent reported monk seal hooking on Maui and how the community can help rescuers relocate it and remove the hook.

 

# # #

 

 

 

 

For more information media may contact:

Deborah Ward

DLNR Public information office

(808) 587-0320

 

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Finding Balance

Nā Mea Hulu is a project by Honua Consulting, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The goal is to find ways to protect the dwindling monk seal population without impacting the practices and livelihoods of Hawaiians and fisherman.

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