DLNR press release – End of DOCARE monitoring of Kaimana monk seals, August 18, 2022
Published on August 19, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room
(HONOLULU) – For the past 15 days, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) have provided enforcement and education at Kaimana Beach, while Rocky, a mother monk seal, taught her pup the skills she will need to survive. all alone.
Tonight, the 24-hour presence of DOCARE officers at popular Waikīkī Beach came to an end, after the pup named Koalani was weaned and was being moved to an undisclosed location away from the urban core of Waikīkī. ‘O’ ahu.
The unprecedented law enforcement visibility began on August 3, after DLNR leaders addressed concerns about the safety of seals and people. In July, a swimmer encountered the seals in the water near the Natatorium, and the protective mother seal bit him and caused minor injuries. The incident highlighted the real risks faced by both animals and curious humans who intentionally or inadvertently got too close.
In DOCARE’s two weeks on the beach and in the water, officers did not cite anyone for a violation that qualified as “obstructing a government operation.”
“Although this obligation certainly taxed DOCARE’s resources to the maximum, we felt that the presence of law enforcement was necessary to prevent any further encounters, which could well have ended tragically,” said the DLNR president. , Suzanne Case.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla added, “Our men and women have responded in force, knowing that the protection of our natural resources and public safety are integral to DOCARE’s core mission. We have not calculated all staff costs, but estimate the total time spent monitoring monk seals at over 500 man hours.
Officers imposed a 50-meter cordon on the beach and in the ocean during the operation, reflecting NOAA guidelines for people to stay at least 150 feet away from resting or swimming seals. Although no citations were issued, they had to chase away several swimmers who got too close to the animals.
As the monk seal population continues to grow in the main Hawaiian Islands and mothers show up more frequently to whelp and wean their offspring on populated beaches, DLNR is exploring strategies to provide the level of security needed to prevent anyone from getting hurt and wild animals getting used to people.
“Clearly the presence of our DOCARE officers made a huge difference and was a necessary complement to the great efforts of Hawai’i Marine Animal Response (HMAR) volunteers, who constantly monitored and moved the physical cordon as Rocky and Koalani were becoming more and more active,” Case concluded.
(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)
HD Video – Final Seal Overwatch (August 18, 2022):
(SOTS-Chief Jason Redulla, DOCARE)
HD Video – Kaimana Monk Seal Application (August 6, 2022):
Photographs – Final Seal Watch and Kaimana Monk Seal Enforcement (8-18 & 8-6, 2022):
Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources