Signals of Spring - Animals in Curriculum-based Ecosystem Studiesimages of marine animals
NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

In the Spotlight:

Track Monk Seals in Hawaii with Our New Collaborating Partner!

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NASA logo Development sponsored by:

National Aeronautics and
Space Administration

(NASA Award: NCC5433)
 images of marine animals

image of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science CenterMonk seal scientists at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) Marine Mammal Research Program and several partner agencies and organizations are trying to protect the current population of Monk seals and improve the grow rate. Despite living mostly in the now relatively protected environment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the monk seal population has declined steadily and is now at its lowest level in recorded history - about 1,200 seals. Currently, a monk seal pup's chance of surviving to the reproductive age of seven to ten years is less than one in five. Unless this declining trend is reversed, the population is expected to drop below 1000 seals in the next four years. Scientists are trying to improve pup survival, and thereby increase the population growth rate, through a captive care and release program. Captive pups are housed in shoreline pens where they are protected from predators and feed fish. Once released, satellite tracking is used to monitor their movements.