Thursday, February 21, 2008

Monk seal volunteer opportunities on O'ahu

Scientific teams are working year-round to solve the mystery of the decline in Hawaiian monk seal numbers, and they're asking the public to help, too.

(Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.)

Residents can join the effort by becoming monk seal volunteers. Their mission is to assist monk seals that show up in the main Hawaiian Islands, including pregnant moms and young seals born on Hawaiian beaches.

The Hawaiian native seal has been on the federal endangered species list for three decades, but its numbers continue to decline. About 1,200 are left, according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.

O'ahu residents interested in becoming monk seal volunteers or learning about the program can attend orientation meetings on the following schedule:
• February 26th from 6-8 pm at the Ewa Beach Library;
• February 28th from 6-8 pm at the Waikiki Aquarium;
• February 29th from 6-8 pm at the Kailua Rec Center;
• March 1st from 10 am to 12 pm at the Waimea Bay Visitor’s Center.

For more information, call 944-2268. Neighbor island residents can call that number for information on monk seal programs on their islands.