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llio holo I ka uaua

(Monk Seal)

Photo credit:

Fun Fact:

-The ancient Hawaiian name was "llio holo I ka uaua" meaning "dog that runs in rough water."

- The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, and the rarest seal or sea lion in US waters.

- Monk seals are known to live between 25-30 years.

- Weighing between 375-450 pounds (170-205 kg) and 7-7.5 feet (2.1-2.3 m) in length, females are slightly larger than males. Pups are 35 pounds (16 kg) at birth and 3 feet (1 m) long.


- Monk seals are primarily foragers, feeding on a variety of prey including fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans.


This species is among the worlds most endangered.

- Hunted to the brink of extinction in the late 19th century, Hawaiian monk seals have been declining since modern surveying.

- The monk seal population is currently declining at 4% annually and is estimated at fewer than 1,200 individuals. Biologists predict this number will dip below 1,000 in the next 3-4 years.


(Hawaiian Hoary Bat)


Fun Fact:

-The ‘ope‘ape‘a usually weighs 14 to 18 g. Females are larger than males. Their wing span is about 10.5 to 13.5 inches.

- It is believed to be related to the North American hoary bat and it is the only native land mammal of Hawai‘i. 

-Relatively little research has been conducted on this endemic ‘ope‘ape‘a and data regarding its habitat and population status are very limited.

- Most of the available documentation suggests that this elusive bat roosts among trees in areas near forests.


- The ‘ope‘ape‘a feed on a variety of native and nonnative night-flying insects.


- Endangered

-The ‘ope‘ape‘a has been seen on the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, but may only live on Hawai‘i, Maui, and Kaua‘i. 

- Population estimates for all islands have ranged from hundreds to a few thousand; however, these estimates are based on limited and incomplete data. 


Humpback Whale

Photo credit: Alexis Rosenfeld  

Fun Fact:

- 25-40 tons (50,000-80,000 pounds; 22,000-36,000 kg);

newborns weigh about 1 ton (2,000 pounds; 900 kg).

- Up ti 60 feet (18m) with females larger than males; newborns are about 15 (4.5m) long.

- Lifespan about 50 years

- Humpback whales are well known for their long "pectoral" fins, which can be up to 15 feet (4.6 m) in length. These long fins give them increased maneuverability; they can be used to slow down or even go backwards.

-Also on wintering grounds, males sing complex songs that can last up to 20 minutes and be heard 20 miles (30 km) away. A male may sing for hours, repeating the song several times. All males in a population sing the same song, but that song continually evolves over time. Humpback whale singing has been studied for decades, but scientists still understand very little about its function.


- Tiny crustaceans (mostly krill), plankton, and small fish; they can consume up to 3,000 pounds (1360 kg) of food per day.


- Humpbacks are increasing in abundance in much of their range. While estimating humpback whale abundance is inherently difficulty".

Humpback whales face a series of threats including:

  • entanglement in fishing gear (bycatch)
  • ship strikes
  • whale watch harassment
  • habitat impacts
  • harvest


References and further reading