Responsible Viewing Guidelines

If you encounter a Hawaiian monk seal on the beach or near shore, please remember to observe these viewing guidelines:

1.) Keep a safe distance. The general guideline is to remain approximately 150 feet (50 yards) away. Binoculars or a telephoto lens can enable you to get a good view from the recommended distance.

2.) Roped off seal protection zones are there for both your protection and the protection of the monk seal. Please do not enter these areas.


3.) In the ocean, monk seals may exhibit inquisitive behavior. However, do not attempt to move closer or interact with them.  The seal may misinterpret your actions and could unintentionally cause serious injury.  Instead, cautiously move away or exit the water and watch them from a safe distance.


4.) It is normal for monk seals to come ashore on the beach for long periods of time. Do not attempt to push them back into the water.


5.) Use extra caution and maintain a greater distance in the vicinity of a mother and her pup or any seal which appears to be disturbed or agitated. 


6.) Loud noises or abrupt movements can startle and stress monk seals. This may cause them to react unpredictably, potentially harming themselves or you.  Disturbing seals on the beach interrupts their ability to perform critical functions such as molting, pupping/nursing, or resting.


7.) When in the presence of monk seals, please remember to keep your pet on a leash at all times in order to protect against injury and the transmission of disease between seals and pets.


8.) Cautiously move away if you observe any monk seal behaviors which may indicate it has been disturbed. This includes a female attempting to shield her pup with her body, vocalizations or rapid movement away from a disturbance, or sudden and abrupt awakening from sleep.



NOAA Hotlines
To report sightings:

Oahu: (808) 220-7802
Kauai: (808) 651-7668
Molokai: (808) 553-5555
Maui/Lanai: (808) 292-2372
Island of Hawaii-
East: (808) 756-5961
West: (808) 987-0765
Did you know?
Hawaiian monk seals are protected under the Endangered Species Act as well as the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Harassment or disturbance of a Hawaiian monk seal can incur fines exceeding $50,000 and up to 5 years imprisonment.
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