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Tourists fined $ 500 for touching Hawaiian monk seals | WGN Radio 720

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Honolulu (AP) —U.S. officials say a Louisiana woman who was honeymooning in Hawaii was fined $ 500 after showing in a social media video that she was touching an endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Said.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched an investigation last month and found that women violated the Endangered Species Act, said Dominique Andrews, a spokesman for the agency’s law enforcement agency.

Videos posted on TikTok and other social media showed women touching seals on the beaches of Kauai in June. The Honolulu Star Advertiser showed her running away on Thursday after a seal snapped to her.

The Associated Press was unable to contact the couple immediately on Thursday. The couple previously apologized and told Star Advertisers earlier this month that they loved Hawaii and didn’t intend to offend anyone.

There are an estimated 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and 300 Hawaiian monk seals in the major Hawaiian Islands.

Under state and federal law, touching or harassing Hawaiian monk seals is a felony. Penalties may include up to 5 years in prison and a $ 50,000 fine.

Authorities warn that people need to be at least 50 feet (15 meters) away from animals or 150 feet (45 meters) away from puppies with their mothers.

NOAA also fined another traveler $ 500 for touching a resting Hawaiian monk seal. It’s unclear when that happened, but Instagram accounts indicate that visitors recently visited Oahu in May, the newspaper reported.

Tourists fined $ 500 for touching Hawaiian monk seals | WGN Radio 720

Source link Tourists fined $ 500 for touching Hawaiian monk seals | WGN Radio 720

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