The Hawaiian monk seal, a highly endangered marine mammal, is native to the Islands. Monk seals are the oldest seal species on Earth, and they are called “monk” because they generally swim solo. They eat fish, squid, eels, and octopuses. You may see one sleeping on a beach or in an underwater cave. If you encounter a Hawaiian monk seal, it’s a big deal! Leave it alone, and call it in at (808)292-2372. As of this writing (July 2017), most of the 1200 or so in the population are found in the Northwester Hawaiian Islands. This is the Obama Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument – which just became the largest permanent marine protected area in the world to date! PNMN grew from 139,800 square miles to 582,578. The idea for this monument is that the more ocean space we can protect, the more marine life will thrive – Hawaiian monk seals included.