A 52-year-old man was cited Tuesday in Hawaii by state and federal authorities after his dog was caught on video harassing an endangered monk seal.
The incident occurred Oct. 10 at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on the island of Hawaii.
The accompanying footage, released this week by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, shows the dog menacing the seal, and the seal’s frightened reaction.
The footage also shows the dog’s owner approaching the seal while trying to catch and leash his dog.
The man’s identity was not disclosed out of concern that he’ll become the target of threats and harassment – as has occurred after past incidents involving the culturally revered seals.
The Hawaiian monk seal, endemic to the northwest Hawaiian islands, is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. Only about 1,400 remain and people are required to give them space when they haul ashore to rest.
The Hawaii DNLR stated in a news release that it took weeks to track down the man, a recent transplant from the mainland, after receiving video footage captured by a witness.
State citations include harassment of an endangered or threatened species and permitting a dog to stray in violation of the Hawaii County Code. Federal citations include violation of the Endangered Species Act and failure to restrain a pet, disturbing wildlife activities.
The man is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 26, 2023.