(BIVN) – Federal and state officials are responding to several recent social media videos of people touching endangered Hawaiian monk seals, and are asking the public to please respect Hawaiʻi’s marine wildlife.
Representatives from NOAA Fisheries and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources held a media briefing on Friday, to address recent encounters that have sparked outrage.
“I’ve seen an increase in distressing videos recently of what appears to be visitors to our state touching and disturbing our endangered native Hawaiian monk seals,” Governor David Ige tweeted on Wednesday. “I want to be clear that this behavior is absolutely unacceptable.”
“Visitors to our islands – you’re asked to respect our people, culture, and laws protecting endangered species that are found nowhere else in the world. For those who don’t, make no mistake, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the Governor continued. “Hawaiʻi is a unique place that is home to many. We ask that you be considerate of all the people, and creatures, living here.”