Today on Light Future Art, we’re sharing some cute fun facts about the Hawaiian monk seal! Or, about the ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua.
1. Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua? This is the Hawaiian monk seal’s Hawaiian name. It means “the dog that runs in rough waters”.
2. The majority of Hawaiian monk seals live on and around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but can also be found on the main Hawaiian islands, too. The Hawaiian monk seal is Hawaii’s national animal.
3. Hawaiian monk seals have a diet of fish, squid, crabs, lobsters, octopuses, and eels. They have been known to dive as far as 1,000 feet to forage for their food.
4. While most seals live in large groups, monk seals are fairly solitary. They get their name from being as solitary as a monk, as well as the folds of skin and fat on their necks resembling a monk’s hood.
5. Monk seals remain with their young for the first five to six weeks of the pup’s life. This can come at the cost of feeding themselves, as some mothers lose hundreds of pounds in that time. Hawaiian monk seals don’t reproduce every year, considering this great strain it places on them.
6. It is incredibly important not to disturb Hawaiian monk seals resting on beaches, and especially if they have a pup with them. Human provocation causes Hawaiian monk seals to become so stressed and afraid that they have been known to leave their pups in order to flee.
7. Pups are weaned after six weeks but aren’t fully grown until they are three years old. The average lifespan of a Hawaiian monk seal is 25 to 30 years.
8. Hawaiian monk seal pups are born after a gestation period of 11 months. Most pups are born in April, but births have been witnessed all throughout the year. They are born weighing in at approximately 35 pounds and measuring three feet long. Their fur at birth is black, while gradually changing to silver as they grow up.
9. Hawaiian monk seals are very endangered. Only a little more than 1,000 individuals live in the wild. Although hunting them is illegal, many Hawaiian monk seals are killed by boats or by fishing activity.
10. There are more male Hawaiian monk seals than females. This sometimes results in a behavior called mobbing, in which many males ambush one female to mate with her. This often leads to death, usually of the female. Protecting female monk seals and female pups is crucial in saving them as a species.
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