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Readers across the nation, and around the world, are being introduced to the plight of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal in a lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine, "Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?"

 

Author Jon Mooallem delved deeply into the crisis of the monk seal, the only marine mammal found solely in the United States. With fewer than 1,100 animals remaining, the seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world.  

 

The one bright spot is that the subpopulation of seals in the main Hawaiian Islands has been increasing at a rate of 6% per year. However, this has led to more interactions with humans, especially fishermen who often see them as a nuisance competing for fish. Resentment of the seal has even resulted in the deliberate killings of seals on Molaka`i and Kaua`i.  

New York Times Magazine cover article on Hawaiian monk seals
Since 2009, at least four seals have been killed by gunfire or blunt trauma in the main Hawaiian Islands, and others have died suspiciously.

 

For many readers, this article will be the first exposure to the Hawaiian monk seal's existence, or the fight to preserve it.  

 

But the Marine Conservation Institute has been fighting for the seal's survival since 2006, starting with our efforts to help create Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Since then, the Marine Conservation Institute has worked tirelessly to promote the seal's conservation, reaching out to members of Congress, Hawai`i state officials, and the media.

 

Most recently, we have begun working directly with fishermen on Kaua`i. We want to understand their perspectives and concerns, and to find practical ways for humans and seals to coexist.

 

KP2
By working respectfully with fishermen and preserving the seal's habitat and ecology, we are preserving two vital components of Hawai`i's ecosystem and culture.

 

The death of any critically endangered species is tragic. Fortunately, it is not too late for the Hawaiian monk seal. But we need your support. Your donations and activism will build on our work to help fishermen and other ocean users coexist with the seal.

 

How can you help? If you live in Hawai`i, share this article with

others, and talk with your friends about how to coexist with seals. Ask your members of Congress to adequately fund NOAA's Hawaiian monk seal recovery program.  
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And wherever you are, consider a donation to support our work for Hawaiian monk seals and other threatened marine life.  

For the oceans, 

 Lance Morgan Signature  

Lance E. Morgan, Ph.D.
President and CEO

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