Hawai'i State News

2 Oʻahu residents, one of them employed by a DLNR division, charged in dog attack that killed newborn monk seal pup

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Two Oʻahu residents — one of them an employee of a division of the state agency in charge of land and natural resources — have been charged in the May dog attack that killed a Hawaiian monk seal pup on Oʻahu’s North Shore.

Hawaiian monk seal RN58, also known as Luana, and her newborn pup PO7 on the North Shore of Oʻahu. (Credit: Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Permit #24359)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of General Counsel charged Lesley Macpherson and James Armstrong Lyman with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act by causing the unlawful take of a marine mammal.

They were also joinly assessed a $20,000 civil penalty.

Macpherson and Lyman have the right to challenge the charges and civil penalty and can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.


The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources said Thursday that Macpherson, who is an interpretive technician for the state Land Department’s Division of State Parks, reported the death of newborn monk seal PO7 to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and leadership of the State Parks Division.

She was not on duty the day of the attack.

“Now that the [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Office of General Counsel has issued a Notice of Violation, the [Department of Land and Natural Resources] Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement has initiated an investigation into any violations of state laws and administrative rules or county ordinances,” said the state Land Department in a statement. “As this is an open investigation, we have no further comment.”


PO7 was killed the evening of May 23, the same day the female pup and her mother RN58, also known as Luana, were sighted.

Based on a post-mortem exam, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries determined the pup died from injuries associated with a dog attack.

The exam revealed that puncture wounds on the pup were consistent with bites from a dog. Hemorrhaging found in the pup’s body was also consistent with shaking from a dog attack. As a matter of procedure, biological samples were submitted for analysis.


The pup being a female makes the loss even more impactful.

PO7 could have grown up to be a matriarch Hawaiian monk seal, birthing generations of new seals; her death is a heavy loss to the population and conservation efforts of the endangered species.

PO7’s death is the third known death of a monk seal resulting from a dog attack in the main Hawaiian Islands.

In 2014, pup RFX4 was killed on Kauaʻi. Pup RS48Hoʻomau, also known as Lehua, was killed in 2023 on Oʻahu.

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