The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. Part of the “true seal” family (Phocidae), they are one of only two remaining monk seal species.
Isolated from their closest relative 15 million years ago, Hawaiian monk seals are considered a “living fossil” because of their distinct evolutionary lineage.
Monk seals are primarily foragers, feeding on a variety of prey including fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
Monk seals live in the warm subtropical waters of Hawaii and spend two-thirds of their time at sea.
They use waters surrounding atolls, islands, and areas farther offshore on reefs and submerged banks. Monk seals are also found using deepwater coral beds as foraging habitat.
When on land, monk seals breed and haul-out on sand, corals, and volcanic rock. Sandy, protected beaches surrounded by shallow waters are preferred when pupping. Monk seals are often seen resting on beaches during the day.
For this activity, we created our very own monk seal habitats! Using toy seals, rocks, blue gel and sand, your little one created their very own sandy beach! This was the definite favorite for the week, as your little one applied their understanding of various vocabulary and newly acquired concepts.