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Two Unleashed Dogs Threaten Monk Seal Pup

June 3, 2020, 3:07 PM HST
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Hawaiian monk seal. 

Unleashed dogs pose a real threat to Hawaiian monk seals resting on beaches and other wildlife, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Last week, a couple of off-leash dogs approached a seal pup resting in a coastal area of O‘ahu, threatening the animal, DLNR said.

A team member from Hawai‘i Marine Animal Rescue intervened, and the seal was not injured. The dog’s owner was cited by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).

Nearly six years ago, in July 2014, a two-week-old monk seal pup was killed by two loose dogs on the north shore of Kaua‘i. According to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, it appears the mother attempted to defend her pup and suffered bite injuries as well. Two other pups and one other mother seal in the area also had dog bite lacerations and punctures. One pup was treated for the injuries by NOAA and DLNR.

Two weeks prior to the Kaua‘i attack, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) wildlife cameras captured images of the two dogs roaming the same area. Both dogs were captured with live traps, tested negative for disease, and were surrendered to the Humane Society.

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Last summer, officials caught two loose German Shepherds on the same beach as a newborn pup, likely averting another fatality. No owners were in sight, DLNR said. Loose dogs have also been documented killing hundreds of ground-nesting seabirds.

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These are the primary reasons anyone walking their dogs on Hawai‘i’s beaches should keep them on a leash at all times. Anyone who sees or suspects a natural or cultural resource violation is asked to call, 808-643-DLNR or use the free DLNRTip app.

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