Hawaii Man Faces Charges After Dog Harasses Endangered Seal: VIDEO

by Taylor Cunningham
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A man is in hot water after his un-leashed dog was caught harassing an endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

According to a Facebook post, a “52-year-old man, who recently relocated to Hawai‘i from the mainland, was cited” by three state and federal law enforcement agencies after the incident, which took place at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on Oct. 10.

Monk Seal Harassement, Koloko Honokohau, Oct. 10, 2022 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

In the clip, captured by an unnamed witness and posted by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the dog charges the seal as it rests on a sandy beach. While the dog never turns aggressive, the seal obviously feels threatened as it buries its face in the sand and cries out.

The owner of the dog can be heard calling for his pet to come back. And the last moments of the footage show him finally capturing and leashing the dog.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal is one of the Most Endangered Marine Mammals in the World

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. According to American Oceans, there are only about 1,100 left in the wild. Because of that, the United States government lists them as critically endangered, which means that they’re heavily protected. And people must keep themselves and their pets at a respectable distance if the seals rest on beaches.

Government officials aren’t the only people who take that protection seriously, either. Islanders are serious about reviving the monk seal population. And in the past, when others have been responsible for a disturbance, they’ve received threats. Because of that, the HDLNR refused to share the offender’s name.

Nonetheless, when the video surfaced, officials spent two weeks tracking the man down. Once they found him, the DNR charged him with harassment of endangered and threatened species and permitting a dog to stray. The National Park Service slapped him with failure to restrain a pet. And they also got him for disturbing of wildlife activities.

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement topped the charges with violation of the federal Endangered Species Act. The man is set to appear in court on Jan. 26, 2023.

“The law enforcement agencies caution that resting monk seals are powerful animals and could easily hurt or kill an off-leash dog.” the Facebook post adds. “‘Not to mention,’ DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla commented, ‘monk seals are protected by a multitude of state and federal laws, as this individual learned.'”