Here’s the deal, if you’re lucky enough to come across any of the incredible wildlife in the ocean or onshore in Hawaii, have the common decency to leave it be. This common decency was not in play when a Louisiana woman decided to disturb a sleeping monk seal on Kauai and post it to TikTok. The post went viral and the authorities are pissed. Authorities warn that harassing a monk seal, which is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, could land you in jail with stiff fines to boot:
“Harassing a monk seal in the manner depicted in the viral video is a Class-C felony under Hawaii law (statute HRS 195D-4.5) punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. We have reached out to our federal partners at NOAA as well as our state partners at DOCARE, and the matter remains under investigation.” –Kauai County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar
Let’s stop this stupid social media trend in its tracks. Anyone who spots a seal or witnesses a human-seal interaction, call the NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline at (888) 256-9840.