Named because of the short hairs on its head, which are said to look like monks' hair, this lovely animal is so critically endangered that there are only 1,000 of its kind left in the wild. Monk seals have almost disappeared from the main Hawaiian Islands and have numerous threats to their existence. However, the good news is that new protected habitats have been proposed.
Monk seals are not only dying due to the threat of sharks, but also because of man-made dangers in the form of encounters with fishing nets and a cat parasite that is washed into the ocean in sewage runoffs. It's also dying of starvation, with only one in five seals able to make it to adulthood.
Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said: “New habitat protections, including all of the Hawaiian Islands, are essential to bring endangered Hawaiian monk seals back from the brink of extinction... The proposal to protect Hawaii’s coastline for monk seals is a landmark decision that will benefit seals and the coastal environment for generations.”