HONOLULU (KHON2) — With the intentional death of Malama the monk seal and the recent birthing and weaning of Pualani the monk seal, lots of folks are very concerned about the health and safety of local wildlife.
Hawaiʻi has one of the most diverse populations of indigenous species, both marine and land, in the world.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
With so many interactions with local wildlife that nearly everyone has when they’re in the ocean or hiking a trail, it is important to know where you can go and what animals are off limits.
So, KHON2.com decided to head out to Waikīkī beach to find out how well visitors know the local wildlife.
KHON2.com reporter Cheyenne Sibley took on the mission. We chose the animals that would be the most fun for the visitors to learn about.
What were the animals you ask? Let’s take a look.
1. Naiʻa is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for dolphins. Spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphins can be found in Hawaiʻi. It is important to respect the sleeping habits of dolphins who tend to sleep during daylight hours and forage for food at night. A group of swimmers was captured on video harassing a pod dolphins of Hawaiʻi Island in March.
2. Honu is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for turtles. Pond sliders, Chinese Softshell Turtle, Wattle-Necked Softshell Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Green Turtle, Olive Ridley and Loggerhead Sea Turtle can all be found in Hawaiʻi. But remember that you will need to remain at least 10 feet (three meters) away from turtles. They are a federally protected species.
3. Ilioholoiʻikaʻuaʻua is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for monk seals. Hawaiian monk seals are indigenous to Hawaiʻi. While monk seals are birthing and nursing, you must remain a minimum of 150 feet (~46 meters) away from them. All other times, you must keep a distance of at least 50 feet (15 meters) for your safety and for theirs. They are a federally protected species.
4. Ilio is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for dogs. Ilio are found all over the islands as folks love to commune with these sweet, domesticated animals. Many of the humane societies across the state need your help. There are many dogs and puppies that are not being loved. Contact your local humane society to find out about fostering programs where you can give a dog a much-needed experience for short periods of time.
5. Heʻe is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for a Hawaiian octopus. Mūhe‘e is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for a bobtail squid. These amazing creatures are associated with the Hawaiian god, Kanaloa who takes the form of an octopus. For hundreds of years, these creatures have captured the imaginations of kānaka maoli.
6. Humuhumunukunukuʻapuaʻa is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for the state fish. The name literally translates to “fish with a snout like a pig”. The fish is known for making pig-like grunting sounds when it’s distressed. This marine animal is fiercely territorial in spite of its small size.
7. Puaʻa is the ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi word for boar. Modern boar are believed to be the result of breeding between the boar brought to the islands by the Polynesians who discovered the archipelago and the European pig introduced by/after Cook.
There are so many more species that populate the ʻāina and wai of Hawaiʻi. It’s easy to take the time to explore this amazing ecosystem that provides so much life.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
Now, go check out the video above to see how well folks living in and visiting Hawaiʻi know about Hawiʻi’s animals.