About MSF: Current Projects

The Hawaiian monk seal is at the brink of extinction. In 1976, they were added to the list of endangered species, but even over 30 years later, they are one of the most threatened species on the planet. The International Union for Conservation of Natures now classifies them as critically endangered, meaning that the population is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. If they are to survive, focused scientific, education, protection and recovery programs are needed.

The Monk Seal Foundation manages the Oahu and Molokai Monk Seal Response Teams while also working to provide needed assistance and resources to the NOAA Marine Mammal Response Network.These trained teams of volunteers respond to monk seal haul out events to ensure the seal is protected while at the same time conducting outreach and answering questions about the seals.

In October 2012, the Monk Seal Foundation hosted the 6th Annual Marine Mammal Response Network Meeting. This event represented an important opportunity to bring together key volunteers, scientists, and stakeholders to share the latest information about the Hawaiian monk seals and the current recovery efforts.
Education Programs
A successful Hawaiian monk seal recovery effort in the Main Hawaiian Islands begins with education. Both residents and island visitors need to be aware of responsible wildlife viewing guidelines, steps they should take if they encounter a Hawaiian monk seal, and how their actions may influence species recovery. Our current education efforts include: Public Service Announcements, outreach programs, school education programs, and information distribution to hotels, condos, and tourist locations.

The Monk Seal Foundation also hopes to inspire and help develop the next generation of Hawaii's research and conservation biologists. Through the Hō’ike ā Maka project, we have selected two Hawaii high school students to come into the field and actually participate in the research and collaborate with video analysis. This is a rare opportunity for students to witness Hawaii marine mammal research and conservation firsthand.
The Monk Seal Foundation, in partnership with NOAA, National Geographic, and The Marine Mammal Center, is one of the founding members of a three year scientific research study of monk seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands. The goal is to understand and share images of the feeding and underwater behavior of Hawaiian monk seals, while also laying to rest many of the myths and misconceptions regarding monk seals and their impact on the local marine environment and its resources.  Scientists will deploy seal-borne video cameras to study how monk seals feed and use their marine habitat. The discoveries will be critical to understanding the seals’ ecology, ensuring their continued existence, and building a culture of coexistence between man and seal. You can learn more about this project by visiting our Hōʻike ā Maka Project Page.
Partnerships For Recovery

As part of the Monk Seal Foundation’s capacity building efforts, we actively partner with other organizations that are working to assist the Hawaiian monk seal. This includes developing and working on collaborative education efforts as well as raising needed funds for those organizations who meet a critical need in the area of Hawaiian monk seal recovery. Currently, we are raising funds for the long term care of non-releasable seals who due to critical injuries or other environmental factors cannot survive in the wild. For more information, visit our Pu'uhonua Initiative Page.

Do you have a request?

We believe that the Monk Seal Foundation is an invaluable resource in the community and we are always looking to find new ways of interacting with potential and existing supporters. If you have an idea for a program or want to collaborate with the Monk Seal Foundation, please contact us!