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Baby monk seal birth closes North Kohala beach park

Keokea Beach Park will close 7:30 p.m. nightly

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photo of mommy monk seal and her new pup, courtesy Hawaii County Dept. of Parks and Recreation

photo of mommy monk seal and her new pup, courtesy Hawaii County Dept. of Parks and Recreation

HALAULA, Hawaii – Keōkea Beach Park in North Kohala is being closed to protect an endangered Hawaiian monk seal and its mother.

The shut down will take place at at 7:30 p.m. nightly. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asked the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation to implement the early closure after the new pup was born at the park. New permits for use of Keōkea Beach Park’s pavilions will list a 7 p.m. closing time to give patrons enough time to vacate. The park will continue to be closed at 7:30 p.m. until further notice.

From a Hawaii County media release:

HawaiiCountyHawaii County, 11/13/13

“Both NOAA and the Department of Parks and Recreation ask the public to keep their distance from the Hawaiian monk seals, which are protected under both federal and state laws. Anyone who intentionally harasses, harms or kills a Hawaiian monk seal could be fined up to $50,000 and ordered to serve a five-year prison sentence.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the shortened hours may cause and thanks park users and the general public for understanding the need to protect one of Hawaii’s most unique and loved animals.”

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