Photo of the Week- "Under a Golden Sun"

November 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Under a Golden SunUnder a Golden SunSubject- Hawaiian Monk Seal
Location- Kauai, Hawaii

Image is copyrighted and cannot be used for any reason without expressed written consent by Steve Hinch

The Hawaiian Monk Seal is the rarest seal or sea lion in US waters and one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world with a total population of less than 1,200 animals.  Unfortunately that number is declining by an average of four percent a year.  The good news is that, thanks in part to conservation efforts, the seal population in the main Hawaiian Islands has increased to approximately 100 seals with 45 of those living around the island of Kauai.  So naturally, on a trip to Kauai, I hoped to see one of these endangered and rare animals.  We didn't see any until the last morning of our trip.  My wife and I grabbed our breakfast and took it down to the beach. Before even sitting down, I saw the seal hauled out at the water's edge.  Shortly a second swam by but didn't come onto the beach.  The Marine Mammal Center has volunteers who come out and put up signs and ropes to keep people back a respectable distance from the seals but at the early morning hour, none were here yet, so we grabbed the signs and put them up ourselves.  Once the volunteers arrived, we enjoyed talking with them and learning as much I could about these animals.  This seal, identified by a tag on his rear flipper, is C6X, a young 2 1/2 year old subadult male.  Luck was with us on this morning because C6X usually is hangs out around the mostly uninhabited island of Ni'ihau which is roughly 18 miles away, but on this day, he chose Kauai for his daily nap, giving us the opportunity we had hoped.


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