ATVs Endanger Monk Seal and Pup at West Hawai‘i Beach Park

June 12, 2020, 11:05 AM HST
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Drivers of ATVs are putting a monk seal and her pup by driving in a restricted area at a West Hawai‘i Beach Park.

Off-road vehicles are driving in an area that has been cordoned off to protect a Hawaiian monk seal mother and her four-week-old pup named Hiwahiwa, which means precious, in the Mahaiʻula section of Kekaha Kai State Park.

Staff from the Ke Kai Ola animal hospital, who have been monitoring and protecting the seals, photographed tire tracks on the beach and they worry “the very active” pup could be injured or killed while roaming around the Ka’elehululhulu beach area. This is a big week for Hiwahiwa as his mom has left and he’s now exploring the area on his own, the DLNR said.

“We are in the process of identifying access points that ATVs are using and will look at putting up barricades or warning signs,” said DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “In the meantime, we implore operators of off-road vehicles to only ride in legal and open areas and to never ride in places that could endanger any of Hawai‘i’s wildlife. Not only could an endangered monk seal pup or adult be hurt or killed, a driver could be as well.”

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