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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
ABOUT ACTION PROGRAMS SPECIES NEWSROOM PUBLICATIONS SUPPORT

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ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

PROTECTION STATUS: Endangered

YEAR PLACED ON LIST: 1976

CRITICAL HABITAT: All northwestern Hawaiian island beach areas, sand spits, islets, lagoon waters, inner reef waters, and ocean waters out to a depth of 20 fathoms around the northwestern Hawaiian islands designated in 1988

RECOVERY PLAN: 2007

RANGE: Throughout the northwestern Hawaiian islands, with an increasing population on the main islands

THREATS: Food scarcity due to factors such as overfishing, competition for prey, and changes in oceanographic and climatic conditions; entanglement in marine debris; global warming; shark predation; interactions with fisheries; habitat loss and disturbance; and disease

POPULATION TREND: Since the mid 1950s, the monk seal population has precipitously declined, with only about 1,200 animals remaining. Scientists predict that the population will fall below 1,000 individuals within five years. Like the Mediterranean monk seal, also critically endangered, the Hawaiian monk seal will likely meet the fate of the now-extinct Caribbean monk seal if urgent action is not taken.

Photo by James P. McVey, NOAA