Community and NOAA voice concerns about monk seal in Maili

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Concerned Maili residents are upset at several NOAA volunteers who they say are harassing a pregnant monk seal.

So they reached out to KHON2’s Action Line for answers.

They say the monk seal named R-912 likes to hang out in a nearby canal during the day but NOAA volunteers have been chasing her out.

NOAA says they’re doing it for her own good for a number of reasons. One, reason is that the storm season is coming and that canal could flood.

The canal is also getting ready to be dredged.

Plus, there are a number of pathogens in the canal that could make her sick.

“She’s been coming here months and she always comes here and rests on the sand. But every time she comes here some people come over here and they chase her off with galvanized fence,” Maili resident Darlene Silva said.

“For a mother and a pup it’s just a place you don’t want them to be. So we have to play a longer game here and we don’t know exactly when she’s going to pup. So we want to make sure she learns there’s a whole array of beaches she can go to that are beautiful, safer,” said Dr. Charles Littnan of NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program

Hawaiian monk seals are considered an endangered species and are protected by state law. That means, it’s illegal to approach one.

To report a monk seal sighting, contact NOAA.

To report monk seal sightings email at pifsc.monksealsighting@noaa.gov or call:

◾ Island of Hawaii:

◾East: (808) 756-5961

◾West: (808) 987-0765

◾Kauai: (808) 651-7668

◾Maui/Lanai: (808) 292-2372

◾Molokai: (808) 553-5555

◾Oahu: (808) 220-7802

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