Hawaiian Monk Seals!
Dec 28 2012
Photo by iStockphoto/JimmyAnderson
The Cute Show Page! is normally meant to incite feelings of love, purity, and happiness—all the stuff that tugs at the ol’ heartstrings and makes you want to hum nursery rhymes while skipping down the street. But as we all know, the hard reality is that humans have been decimating the sanctity of the animal kingdom for eons. The 2012 International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species includes 3,947 “critically endangered” species that face a very high risk of extinction or whose populations have decreased, or will decrease, by 80 percent within three generations. And that’s not including species that currently only exist in captivity.
This adorable Hawaiian monk seal is one of the many unfortunate creatures included on the Red List. There are fewer than 1,200 of these flippered tubes of blubber left on the planet. And it looks like things are about to get even lonelier for these mostly solitary (hence the “monk” distinction) animals, the only seal native to Hawaii. Like many sea-dwelling mammals, Hawaiian monk seals are finding it nearly impossible to live in and around an ocean that has been raped, pillaged, polluted, and generally used as a landfill-cum-toilet by humanity since the halcyon days of the Industrial Revolution.
As if they weren’t ridiculously adorable already, the monk seal is known to locals as “Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua,” which means “dog that runs in rough waters.” These aqua-pooches have a gray coat, a white belly, and a slender (well, for a seal) physique that helps them hunt prey like lobster, fish, and octopus in deep waters. Their favorite thing to do is laze about on volcanic rock and sandy beaches. Their least favorite thing is to be murdered en masse by humanity’s ignorance and callous disregard for other living beings. We are awful and should probably kill ourselves.
Considering that these seals are already close to extinction, we thought it best not to encroach even more on their turf to stick cameras in their faces. To see some cute animals we were actually able to hang out with, check out episodes of The Cute Show! on VICE.com.
Bring a box of tissues and read more from our Hopelessness Issue: