Rare Species - Wildlife
These are those species whose numbers are few or they live in such small areas or in such unusual environments (endemics), that they could quickly disappear. The Hawaiian monk seal (Monarchism schauinslandi) is an example of a rare species. It is found only on six small islands extending north west from the Hawaiian islands. There are probably no more than 1,500 of these seals. They were killed for their fat in the late 1800s and they almost became extinct.
Since 1909 they have been protected and have slowly increased in number. Unfortunately, even stopping the killing may not be enough to save these seals. If they are disturbed on the beaches where they give birth, the mothers rush away into the water. Many of the pups left behind die. With all the Hawaiian monk seals located on just these few islands there is a great possibility of these being wiped off, by some natural catastrophe, such as an oil slick. There are a few in captivity, but they have never bred.