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A Cat-Borne Threat to Monk Seals

November 20, 2019

Hawaiian monk seals and toxoplasmosis—infographic and frequently asked questions.

Toxoplasmosis is a leading cause of Hawaiian monk seal mortality and a growing concern for the species in the populated main Hawaiian Islands. This infographic displays how Toxoplasma gondii spreads from the mountains to the ocean by streams and runoff.

Toxoplasma gondii (cat-borne-threat) infographicgraphic-th-NOAA-PIRO.jpg


How can you help?

You can help prevent toxoplasmosis from affecting monk seals and other wild animals by doing your part to reduce the spread of T. gondii eggs.

  • Keeping cats exclusively indoors improves their longevity, protects native birds from cat predation, and is the best way to prevent the spread of toxoplasmosis.
  • Make sure to spay and neuter your cats—while this won’t prevent them from contracting or spreading T. gondii parasites, it will curb unwanted litters of kittens.
  • It is illegal in Hawai‘i to abandon unwanted cats or kittens outdoors or at feral cat colonies; take them to a shelter where they may be adopted.
  • Please do not feed feral cats, as this may perpetuate colony growth and further abandonment, ultimately increasing the amount of T. gondii eggs spread into the environment.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on 07/30/2022