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Man, DLNR employee charged in death of monk seal pup on North Shore

                                Hawaiian monk seal and her newborn pup, PO7, on Oahu’s North Shore in May.
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Hawaiian monk seal and her newborn pup, PO7, on Oahu’s North Shore in May.

Federal officials say two Oahu residents have been charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act following the death of a newborn monk seal in May.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today that its Office of General Counsel assessed Lesley Macpherson and James Armstrong Lyman a $20,000 penalty “in the case of an attack by unleashed dogs causing the death of a Hawaiian monk seal pup.”

The pup, known as PO7, was born to a monk seal known as Luana.

According to NOAA, the pup was killed shortly after its birth on Oahu’s North Shore. The mom-and-pup pair was first sighted on May 23, and the death of the pup was reported that evening.

A post-mortem exam confirmed the pup died from injuries due to a dog attack, as it suffered from puncture wounds consistent in size with bites from a dog.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources said Macpherson, who is an interpretive technician for their Division of State Parks, had reported the death of the monk seal pup to authorities.

Macpherson was not on duty at the time of the incident, DLNR said.

“Now that the NOAA Office of General Counsel has issued a Notice of Violation, the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) has initiated an investigation into any violations of State laws and administrative rules, or county ordinances,” said DLNR in a statement. “As this is an open investigation, we have no further comment.”

NOAA said under its civil procedure regulations, individuals have the right to challenge allegations charged and the civil penalty assessed.

Individuals charged may also request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

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