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The endangered Hawaiian monk seal is one of just two mammals endemic to Hawaii, and 10 percent of them live in the waters immediately surrounding the main Hawaiian islands. Since they sometimes haul themselves up on Kauai’s south shore beaches for naps, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa has started offering presentations that teach guests about these special sea creatures.
Partnering with the Kauai Monk Seal Watch program, the oceanfront Poipu-based resort now features weekly educational monk seal discussions at the poolside seating area of its Dock cafe. Programs run on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. and second and fourth Thursdays at 9:00 a.m.
While critical habitat areas have been established in the islands, the Hawaiian monk seal population has declined to just 1,200 seals, making it one of the most endangered of all marine mammals. During the talks, guests learn about the biology and endangered status of the Hawaiian monk seal, the fragile marine environment in which it lives, the issue of debris and the damage it causes sea life and what everyone can do to help.
The program also teaches proper behavior and protocol when a monk seal is spotted snoozing on the sand fronting the resort. Ropes are placed around the animal to give it plenty of space and signs are posted with information on how to respect it. From the Dock, attendees can go on a short, easy walk to the beach to view the seals from a safe distance.