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Demographic Consequences of Changed Pupping and Hauling Sites of the Hawaiian Monk Seal

Tim Gerrodette and William G. Gilmartin
Conservation Biology
Vol. 4, No. 4 (Dec., 1990), pp. 423-430
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2385936
Page Count: 8
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Demographic Consequences of Changed Pupping and Hauling Sites of the Hawaiian Monk Seal
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Abstract

During the last 30 years, changes in the size of Hawaiian monk seal populations at several locations have been associated with the amount and type of human disturbance. Recreational beach activities caused monk seals to alter their pupping and hauling patterns. Survival of pups in suboptimal habitats was low, leading to gradual population declines. During the last decade at Kure Atoll, the process has been reversed: human disturbance on beaches has decreased, and traditional pupping and hauling sites have been reestablished. Subsequently, high survival rates of young seals, coupled with two successful enhancement programs for female pups, have led to dramatic changes in the age and sex composition of the population. Based on these changes, the monk seal population at Kure Atoll soon should begin to increase. Apparently small behavioral changes in such vital activities as feeding and reproduction can have large demographic consequences. Therefore, monitoring of endangered species should include data on habitat use and age and sex composition, as well as estimates of abundance.

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