Haleakalā National Park on Maui announced a “special appearance” on the shores of ‘Ohe’o Gulch that occurred last month. It’s an Ilioholoikauaua, one of two native mammals in Hawaii, and it’s napping. Can you spot it?
Ilioholoikauaua translates to “the dog that runs in rough waters,” and is better known as an Hawaiian monk seal.
The park on Tuesday posted the image of the sleepy visitor on its Facebook page.
“According to NOAA, Hawaiian monk seals are one of the world’s most endangered species with just around 1,400 left in the wild,” the post states. “They are solitary animals that spend most of their time at sea. You may find them catching some much-needed rest along the shoreline. It is important to allow them a significant amount of space to molt, rest, give birth, and care for their pups.”
This one had no worries about being bothered, as no humans were in sight.
“Hawaiian monk seals are often seen sleeping on the beach, digesting their food and resting from long hunts,” the Hanalei River Heritage Foundation writes.
But, as stated, they spend most of their time out at sea where they feed at depths up to 1,000 feet. They can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes.
A closer look at the sleeping Hawaiian monk seal: