DLNR: Off-leash dog pose threat to monk seals, other wildlife

Local News
hawaiian monk seal pup waikiki_215444

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The DLNR wants to remind the public that off-leash dogs pose a threat to wildlife.

They say that in late May 2020, several off-leash dogs approached a seal pup resting in a coastal area of Oahu and threatened it. But it was not injured, as a team member from the Hawaii Marine Animal Rescue intervened.

The dog’s owner was cited by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).

“Dogs, by instinct, chase things, and in the case of resting Hawaiian monk seals and other wildlife, this natural trait can have serious and even deadly consequences,” wrote the DLNR in a release.

Nearly six years ago, in July 2014, a two-week-old monk seal pup was killed by two at-large dogs on the north shore of Kauai.  According to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, it appears the mother attempted to defend her pup, and suffered bite injuries as well. Two other pups and one other mother seal in the area also had dog bite lacerations and punctures. One pup was treated for the injuries by NOAA and DLNR.

Two weeks prior to the Kauai attack, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) wildlife cameras captured images of the two dogs roaming the same area. Both dogs were captured with live traps, tested negative for the disease, and surrendered to the Humane Society.

In Summer 2019, officials caught two loose German Shepherds on the same beach as a newborn pup, likely averting another fatality. Its owners were not seen.

Loose dogs have also been documented killing hundreds of ground-nesting seabirds. 

These are the primary reasons anyone walking their dogs on Hawaii’s beaches should keep them on a leash at all times, says the DLNR.

What to do going forward?
Anyone who sees or suspects a natural or cultural resource violation is asked to call, 643-DLNR or use the free DLNRTip app.


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