DLNR News Release-Vehicles Endangering Monk Seal Pup at Big Island State Park, June 12, 2020Posted on Jun 12, 2020 in Latest Department News
Numerous Tracks Seen in Kekaha Kai State Park
(Kailua-Kona) – Off-road vehicles are driving in an area that has been cordoned off to protect a Hawaiian monk seal mother and her four-week-old pup named Hiwahiwa (means precious), in the Mahaiʻula section of Kekaha Kai State Park. Staff from the Ke Kai Ola animal hospital, who have been monitoring and protecting the seals, photographed tire tracks on the beach and they worry “the very active” pup could be injured or killed while roaming around the Ka’elehululhulu beach area. This is a big week for Hiwahiwa as his mom has left and he’s now exploring the area on his own.
DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said, “We are in the process of identifying access points that ATV’s are using and will look at putting up barricades or warning signs. In the meantime, we implore operators of off-road vehicles to only ride in legal and open areas and to never ride in places that could endanger any of Hawai‘i’s wildlife. Not only could an endangered monk seal pup or adult be hurt or killed, a driver could be as well.”
# # #
(Images courtesy: The Marine Mammal Center)
Senior Communications Manager