Conservation officers are seeking information on those responsible for defacing petroglyphs on the face of a cliff in Maui’s Olowalu Valley with a paintball gun, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, notified of the vandalism on June 29, is now asking the public for help identifying those responsible for damaging this important cultural site also known as Pu‘u Kilea.
“I would guess several hundred paintballs were shot at this historical site,” said DOCARE Lt. John Yamamoto in a news release. “White and yellow splotches of paint are spread across nearly the entire cliff face from the top to the base and from one side to the other. A great battle happened in this Ahupua‘a and it’s hurtful to see this kind of disrespect for our culture.”
Yamamoto said the “attack” appeared random, and the paintball gun was likely fired from down on the road. Some of the paintballs landed on some of the petroglyphs.
“This is so sad to see,” he said. “Like many others, I visited this place when I was a young boy.
From a distance, it actually looks as if a flock of birds left their collective droppings all over the basalt cliff face, according to DLNR.
The roughly 100 petroglyphs chiseled into the rock include human and animal figures, canoes and sails, and are estimated to be more than 300 years old, officials said. They are believed to represent the legends or stories of the early Hawaiians.
Vandals could face charges of criminal property damage in addition to civil penalties.