Minnesota Zoo unveils endangered Hawaiian monk seals

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Five critically endangered, non-releasable rescued Hawaiian monk seals made their public debut at the Minnesota Zoo today; it's the only location outside of Hawaii where the public can see them.

The seals were unveiled in the newly renovated Discovery Bay exhibit.

"The Minnesota Zoo is excited to host a group of critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals in a completely reimagined Discovery Bay," Minnesota Zoo President/Director Lee Ehmke said. "These animals, all now in human care due to visual impairments that render them non-releasable, will serve as ambassadors representing their wild relatives and help to highlight threats to ocean wildlife globally."

There are only two species of monk seals left in the world, the Hawaiian and the Mediterranean, and both are considered endangered. It has been estimated that only 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals are left in existence, which continues to decline.

Moon jellyfish, sea dragons, live coral, sea horses, shrimp and other marine life also made their debut in the exhibit. The new theme "Our Oceans, Our Choices" is designed to inspire awareness on ocean wildlife.