In a move that has baffled scientists, one of the world's rarest marine mammals—the Hawaiian monk seal — is setting up shop on the populated islands of Hawaii.
With a population that hovers around 1,100, most of the world's silvery, seven-foot-long monk seals live on the uninhabited northwest Hawaiian Islands, in the Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument.
They've lived there for as long as Western history records, said Charles Littnan, lead scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian monk seal research program in Honolulu.
But their population has been in decline for the past 30 to 40 years. Scientists are still trying to figure out why, and may have a solution.