The Hawaiian name for the Hawaiian Monk Seal is “llio holo I ka uaua” that is translated as a “dog that runs in rough water.” This seal is also known by the Hawaiian names ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua or na mea hulu.
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. Part of the “true seal” family (Phocidae), they are one of only two remaining monk seal species. The other is the Mediterranean monk seal. A third monk seal species–the Caribbean monk seal–is extinct. Isolated from their closest relative 15 million years ago, Hawaiian monk seals are considered a “living fossil” because of their distinct evolutionary lineage.