Sunday Sketch: International Day of the Seal!

Did you know that March 22 is the International Day of the Seal? Seals are a part of the phylogenetic suborder Pinnipedia that consist of seals, sea lions, and walruses. Seals (Family: Phocidae) live in both the northern and southern hemispheres of our planet, from the cold, polar regions of the arctic and antarctic, to the tropical waters along the equator [1]. Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi) are the most endangered, endemic (i.e. native to only one place) marine mammal in the United States with only 1,415 individuals in the world [2]. The main threats to Hawaiian monk seal survival are food limitations, getting entangled in marine debris, and habitat loss [2]. However, 30% of those seals are alive today due to direct conservation efforts from researchers, wildlife managers, and the public [3]. So, celebrate these charismatic, tropical-mermaid, sea-puppies and the many people who help ensure their survival today! 

For more information about seals, check out our Creature Features on: Hawaiian monk seals, Harbor seals, Elephant seals, and Weddell seals, and some seal-themed sketches here and here!

[Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau]


References
[1] Riedman, M. (1990). The pinnipeds: Seals, sea lions, and walruses. University of California Press.

[2] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2019). ‘Species Directory: Hawaiian Monk Seal. Available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/hawaiian-monk-seal [accessed 9 December 2019].

[3] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (2020). ‘Species Directory: Hawaiian Monk Seal. Available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pacific-islands/endangered-species-conservation/survival-research-and-enhancement-hawaiian-monk [accessed 20 March 2020].

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