Hawaiian monk seal spotted resting on lava rock along West Hawai‘i coast
As the sun set on Tuesday evening, a large Hawaiian monk seal blended with the lava rocks while resting in West Hawai‘i.
Lauren Van Heukelem, Hawai‘i Response Manager at the Kailua-Kona’s Marine Mammal Center Ke Kai Ola, said it’s common for seals to haul out on the rocks.
Malama, found dead on March 12 on O’ahu, was killed by blunt force trauma, according to National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. The federal agency — after consulting with national experts in marine mammal radiology and forensics — said it now believes it was an intentional killing.
Van Heukelem said Hawaiian monk seals commonly haul out on different substrate’s including rocks, pebble beaches and sandy shorelines.
Seals haul out for three main reasons: resting, molting and pupping.
Van Heukelem reminds the public to keep a safe distance of at least 50 feet from monk seals and at least 150 feet from monk seal mothers with pups. Hawaiian monk seals are endangered.
Report sightings to the Marine Mammal Center’s response team via its hotline on Hawai‘i Island at 808-987-0765. The public can report hooked, stranded or entangled monk seals to the statewide NOAA Fisheries Marine Wildlife Hotline at 1-888-256-9840.