Hawaiian monk seals head home

Hawaiian monk seals

Ama`ama and Puka were among two of the Hawaiian monk seals to return home Thursday. Photo: Julie Steelman, The Marine Mammal Center.
NOAA Permit 18786

On Thursday, seven Hawaiian monk seals were taken back to their respective island homes after gaining some weight and getting rehabilitated at the Marine Mammal Center on the big island of Hawaii.

The seals are endangered and there are only about 1,200 left which is why the center focuses its efforts on helping females.

All of the elephant seals are at their most vulnerable in the early years.

Less than 1 in 5 monk seals make it past their first year.

Hawaiian monk seal

Kilo was one of the animals released. She was the tiniest and also sassiest, according to The Marine Mammal Center. Photo: Courtesy of The Marine Mammal Center/ Julie Steelman NOAA Permit 18786

The latest batch of elephant seals that was nursed back to health was the largest the mammal center has ever helped and most of them were rescued in September.

While the amount of seals that don’t make it through their first year is startling, The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration has good news.

In October, NOAA reported the amount of pups born in 2015 was 22 percent more than the pups born in 2014.

The rehabilitated seals are trained to find food on their own and human contact is extremely limited while they’re at the center.

The hope is that when they return to the wild, they’ll be ready to fend for themselves and have their own pups.

The seals are only found in the northern Hawaiian islands.

More from GrindTV

Big Wave Tour includes women, Nazare

Lycra bike shorts banned at New Zealand hotel

Inflatable, portable chair will make your next adventure comfy