Crittercams and Crowdsourcing to Solve Mystery of Hawaiian Monk Seals?

A Hawaiian monk seal dives through the water with its mouth open.

What a surprise! 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 (two-meter-long) monk seals live on the uninhabited northwest Hawaiian Islands, in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. However some human competitors aren’t so baffled. Fishermen who grew up locally, in an environment without monk seals, now feel like they’re competing with the animals for the same resources, like octopuses and a fish locals call aholehole.

Instead of conducting a scientific study in the usual way—collecting data, analyzing the results, publishing findings— scientist wants to employ local middle and high school students to analyze the data for him in the hope if someone at a public meeting challenges the team’s findings, students from the community can vouch for the footage.

Read the full story here.


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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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