|A race to vaccinate rare seals|In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Conservation; Protection; Vaccination; Morbillivirus [WoRMS]; Marine
Monk seal; Neomonachus schauinslandi
In Hawaii, biologists have launched an unusual conservation campaign: For the first time, they are attempting to vaccinate a wild population of seagoing mammals in order to protect the animals from a potentially devastating virus. The target is the Hawaiian monk seal, and it's a daunting task. Although monk seals are one of the world's most endangered marine mammals, they still number some 1300 individuals, scattered along the 2500-kilometer-long Hawaiian chain. For the vaccine to work, biologists must track down and give each animal two shots, weeks apart. But after years of studying ways to prevent an outbreak of phocine distemper virus, a major seal killer that biologists fear could cripple efforts to save monk seals from extinction, researchers are optimistic that they can make wildlife health history.