WAIKIKI AQUARIUM KICKS OFF MONK SEAL MONTH ON MAY 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Theresa Lozier or
Taryn Bohan
Becker Communications, Inc.
(808) 533-4165

WAIKIKI AQUARIUM KICKS OFF MONK SEAL MONTH ON MAY 1
*Ho‘ailona Celebrates Seventh Birthday*

HONOLULU, HI (April 23, 2015) – Throughout the month of May, visitors to the Waikiki Aquarium will enjoy activities that focus on the preservation of the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal and educational programs about the dangers these animals face.

The Monk Seal Month festivities kick off on May 1 with a birthday celebration for the Aquarium’s beloved Hawaiian monk seal, Ho‘ailona, when he will be treated to an ice cake with seven fish at 10:30 a.m. along with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experts who will answer questions about the monk seals and their current situation. As a special thank you, the first 100 visitors who donate to the monk seal wishing well during the celebration from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. will also receive a special monk seal cookie from Hokulani Bake Shop.

Other Monk Seal Month activities are scheduled at the Aquarium throughout the month, including themed Afternoons at the Aquarium. Special events, like the May 6 visit of guest Dr. Rachel Sprague, Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator with the NOAA Monk Seal Research Program, will educate keiki about monk seals and lead them in hands-on learning activities.

Originally rescued after being abandoned, Ho‘ailona came to the Waikiki Aquarium on loan in 2011. It was then discovered that he suffered from cataracts and would no longer be able to survive in the wild, making the Waikiki Aquarium his permanent home.

Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, there are currently less than 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left in the wild. As one of the most critically endangered species in the world, the Waikiki Aquarium and NOAA continue to place an emphasis on research aimed at protecting the remaining monk seals and fostering an environment to help rebuild their population. It is imperative that the community is aware of the dangers these animals face and continues to help them. It’s the Aquarium’s hope that by celebrating Monk Seal Month it can raise awareness about this important initiative.

For more information about Ho‘ailona and the issues surrounding the Hawaiian Monk Seal, visit the Waikiki Aquarium’s website www.waikikiaquarium.org or his personal Facebook page (/hoailona.monkseal).

About the Waikiki Aquarium
Founded in 1904 and administered by the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa since 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium is located on the shoreline of Waikiki Beach next to a living reef and across from Kapiolani Park. The Aquarium – second oldest in the U.S. – showcases more than 500 marine species, and maintains more than 3,500 marine specimens. Public exhibits, education programs and research focus on the unique aquatic life of Hawai‘i and the tropical Pacific. The Aquarium welcomes more than 320,000 visitors annually, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Honolulu Marathon Sunday and Christmas Day. Admission is $12 for visitors; $8 for local residents and active duty military with ID, $5 for senior citizens and juniors ages four to 12; and free for children three and under and Friends of Waikiki Aquarium (FOWA) members. For more information about the Waikiki Aquarium, including membership, call (808) 923-9741 or visit www.waikikiaquarium.org.

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