And of course, all of this work is done to help save the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Endemic to [found only in] Hawaii and one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world.
In the field we'll be doing population assessments, reunite pups who get separated from their moms, study their behavior, free them of marine debris entanglements, perform necropsies and collect tissue samples to be analyzed back in Honolulu. All of the data collected will be used to inform researchers on how to help save the Hawaiian monk seal from extinction.
The program even goes so far as to bring critically sick or injured seals back to the main Hawaiian islands to be rehabilitated. In September 2015, seven seals were brought to the Marine Mammal Center’s Ke 'Ola Kai monk seal rehabilitation facility on Hawaii Island. They are now rehabilitated and ready to be released back into the wild.