Monk seals live in warm subtropical waters and spend two-thirds of their time at sea – one-third of their time on land. They use waters surrounding atolls, islands, and areas farther offshore on reefs and submerged banks. Monk seals are also found using deep- water coral beds as foraging habitat. Monk seals haul-out on sand, corals, and volcanic rock. Sandy, protected beaches surrounded by shallow waters are preferred when pupping. Monk seals are often seen resting on beaches during the day.
The Hawaiian monk seal’s entire range is within U.S. waters. The majority of monk seals live in six main breeding subpopulations in the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). A small but growing population of monk seals is found on the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI), where births have occurred on all of the major islands. This population of seals in the MHI presents an important hope for this species survival.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi