WAIKIKI, Hawaii (KHON2) — No one has been arrested or cited at Kaimana Beach, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
DLNR officers began enforcing a 50-yard distance rule to protect Rocky the monk seal and her pup since Thursday, Aug. 4.
They are not the only protectors in Waikiki, however, kia’i said they are acting hand-in-hand with officials.
“We have more eyes than them,” said a protector known as ‘Sweet T.’ “So, if we see something and we’re like, ‘Hey, get out of the water,’ and they don’t listen, we’re like, ‘Hey, DLNR!'”
Officials have set up a 150-foot cordon around the monk seals that extends into the water. Jet skis patrol the coast, one snorkeler needed a reminder to stay away on Saturday, Aug. 6.
A couple more swimmers crossed the barrier in the shallows less than a minute after the snorkeler passed through, which drew shouts from kia’i.
“Hey! I told you,” a kia’i said to the swimmers, “get on that side!”
The kia’i have also been educating visitors; handing out fliers with information on Hawaiian monk seals. They said while the pup is adorable, Rocky does not find humans as likeable.
“Would you approach a shark? I mean, it’s the same thing,” said Malia Lum.
“We are here to assist them, to help keep all these people basically out of the water,” Sweet T said. “You know, it’s not only for Rocky and the pup’s protection, It’s also for the people who come to visit Kaimana.”
The kia’i pointed out that monk seals have been in the Hawaiian Islands for a lot longer than humans have. Rocky first found Kaimana Beach in 2017.
“She’s had her pups here since 2017. This is her aina before me, before them, certainly before them,” Lum said as she looked towards beach goers.
Larry Akiyama visits Kaimana Beach every day; He is happy to see locals protecting the creatures and said those who are unfamiliar with island regulations just need to show some respect.
I feel really good when all these Hawaiian flags out. I really do feel like part of Hawaii again, you know?”Larry Akiyama, beach goer
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“You don’t need go Harvard for read the sign,” Akiyama said. “Just read the sign and listen, abide by it, that’s all. Everybody’s my friend. I mean, I love everybody, but try show more respect.”