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Kauai man charged in monk seal harassment caught on video

  • COURTESY KAUAI MARINE MAMMAL RESPONSE PROGRAM

    Hawaiian monk seal RK30, who was recently attacked at Salt Pond Beach on Kauai.

  • COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

    Shylo Akuna

A 19-year-old Eleele man was charged today with harassing a pregnant Hawaiian monk seal on Kauai.

Shylo K. Akuna was charged with prohibited take of a monk seal, disorderly conduct and violation of county park rules. He was scheduled to be arraigned at Fifth Circuit Court at 1 p.m. today. The offense, take of a monk seal, is a Class C felony. Akuna faces penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

A video posted on social media showed a man repeatedly punching the 17-year-old monk seal identified as RK30 at Salt Pond Beach at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. She is pregnant with her seventh pup.

Biologists checking on the monk seal observed her resting on the west side of the beach with no apparent injuries. RK30 has suffered previous injuries, including from a shark attack, entanglement in fishing line, and from a boat propeller.

Officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement arrested Akuna near Eleele Thursday afternoon.

Conservation and Resources Enforcement Division Chief Thomas Friel has said the video and several eyewitnesses helped identify a suspect, resulting in Akuna’s arrest.

The video of the attack drew outrage from many around the country on social media.

“These are really wonderful creatures and so we want to treat this crime with the most serious intention. And we will pursue the highest level of penalty for anyone caught and convicted of a crime of harming Hawaiian monk seals,” said DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case at a news conference Thursday.

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  • This deviant obviously suffers from a human identity crisis. Studies of violent criminals, especially killers, have identified juvenile cruelty to animals as an leading indicator of future similar behavior towards people.

    Put this guy away before that happens, or bear the guilt of not doing so.

    • agree but as the TV reports have noted,a few Native Hawaiians have done this kind of thing several times before and have claimed that they have the right to do whatever they want to defile the sea and land. If he is prosecuted, look for him to threaten everyone along with seals with more damage.

      • Allie if you cannot back your statement up with facts, like Trump you are only talking through your anus. Insinuating that Native Hawaiians stating that they have a legal license to do things not pono. Yep braddah was Hawaiian, but his actions displays how unHawaiian he has become. For someone who is an advocate for Education that makes such an uneducated statement truly reflects your intelligence and your desire to be a button pusher validated by amount of times other bloggers replying negatively with the majority of your mana`o.

        • Bigisand, Don’t put Allie and Trump in the same category, it’s offensive to Mr. Trump.

        • I said a few Native Hawaiians and I was saying what the KGMB report said. And this man was not the first to do what he did. Check the archives hon. to hide the truth.

        • I am indigenous and I know host cultures. The man beating up the seal was not in anyway part of a host culture. Enough with the shibai out here.

      • A few years ago, didn’t someone kill a seal in the Anahola area and claim it was his right as a native Hawaiian to harvest and eat the seal?

        • Yes and he lost in Federal Court. He could not show that seals were part if the Hawaiian diet.

        • Yes, another indication of Hawaiian’s belief that they can do what they want, no matter the law or moral virtue of doing instead the right thing.

  • Did they ever catch the person who killed a monk seal pup on Kauai around December 2014?

    Maybe because the laws have changed regarding “take of a monk seal”, this 19 year old may get a harsh sentence. But it may be hard for the court because in 2009, some idi*ot judge sentenced a man on Kauai who shot (4 times at close range) and KILLED a monk seal to “90-day sentence in a detention center and was charged a $25 processing fee”. They say it was because the man was “old”. Yet, I would say the judge committed a crime with that kind of ridiculous sentence.

  • So sad they are the ones who give the Hawaiian’s a bad name. Lock him up and throw the key away. He does not deserve anything less/he should get the max. sentenced he deserve.

  • Glad the seal is okay but wonder if she has psychological issues caused by that person. Mahalo for NOAA and DLNR for catching him. Now our justice system must prevail.

  • It will be interesting to see if the judge in this case will have the guts to give him the max penalty if found guilty or will he be a wimp and let him off with a slap on the wrist. The way the judges work here in Hawaii I think he will be a wimp.

  • The presiding judge should give the maximum sentence to deter others from even thinking about harming these helpless animals again. Wish the news would publish the presiding judge’s name to make it easier to voice our opinions to.

  • I think he was beating up the seal because the seal was way more good looking than this stupid Hawaiian that’s not so Hawaiian.

  • Yayyyyyyy ! We caught the idiot! 5 years in prison and a 50 thousand dollar fine?? Let’s make it 10 x’s the penalty…..give him some time to sober up! Is there a picture of this clown?

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