Here you are on Kaua`i, strolling barefoot along our beautiful white sand beaches, when you spot something big & gray. You think it might be a large rock, but as you get closer you realize it’s alive. However, it’s not moving and you’re concerned.
Don’t fret. And, please don’t get closer. You’ve just come across your first Hawaiian monk seal. While it may seem big and slow (weighing in between 400 to 600+ pounds), it can move quickly when agitated.
One of the most endangered species on earth, Hawaiian monk seals are one of only two mammals native to Hawai`i. It’s important, for your safety and protection – and their long-term survival - that you respect their space.
It may be tempting to get up close to take photos or see if you can make the seal move, but keep in mind that it is a federal crime to harass or disturb one (fines can exceed $25,000). They are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1976.
Approximately 35-40 seals make the waters of Kaua`i their home. It is not uncommon for them to come ashore and lay out the beach for hours at a time – sometimes all day. Many times you’ll notice that the area around them has been roped off. Stay at least 150 feet from the seals and pass outside any barricades. Even when there isn’t a barricade, keep your distance. The seals are simply resting and digesting their food so please let sleeping seals lie.
Always view seals quietly (i.e. don’t make noise hoping to induce movement and get a photo opp). Of course you’ll want to take photos to show the folks back home, but use your zoom and don’t use a flash.
These treasures of Kaua`i are an awesome wonder of nature. Enjoy them with respect for their well-being and survival. Doing so will ensure their presence the next time you visit the Hanalei Colony Resort and our Kaui vacation condos on the magical Garden Isle of Kaua`i.
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