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 ハワイの海を探索
Far below Hawaii's green mountain peaks, the sandy beaches lined with hotels and condominiums, there's another Hawaii. A string of spectacular undersea volcanoes created the islands and continue to add to their land mass even today. Hawaii is geologically young, but it is surrounded by an ancient ocean filled with creatures...whose ancestors preceded human beings by millions of years. Jellyfish were around half a billion years ago. Sharks have a history going back more than 300 million years. About 40 kinds of sharks live in the waters around Hawaii, including whale sharks - the largest fish in the sea! Native Hawaiians reverently refer to tiger sharks as "Auma Kua" or ancestor spirits. To albatross chicks, they're trouble, but whatever they're called, tiger sharks are magnificent apex predators...just below human beings, as top ocean carnivores. They are among more than 1,000 kinds of native Hawaiian fish, such as the moorish idol and mahi-mahi. Others, such as the beautiful little bandit angelfish, and the Hawaiian lionfish, are like nearly 12% of all the species of fish in Hawaii. They live there - and only there - in part, because of the great isolation of the islands. About 1200 monk seals, named the state mammal of Hawaii in 2008...maintain a fragile hold on life in a few places in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. A few venturesome individuals occasionally turn up on the beaches of Oahu where other mammals, primarily primates…have become established. Once abundant, monk seals were almost eliminated in the 1800s for their fur and meat. The few that remain now are legally protected, but their survival is threatened by entanglement in fishermen's discarded nets. Much of Hawaii's natural endowment of underwater life has been depleted over the ages, especially by overfishing in the 20th Century. But things are changing - on land and in the sea - areas are being protected because people do not want to lose more of Hawaii's amazing natural assets. New exploration of deepwater areas with submarines and deep cameras is providing new insight into the nature of the other Hawaii...the one that starts at the sparkling surface of the ocean and goes down.