Viral video of tourist touching Hawaiian monk seal sparks outrage, calls for education – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-07-21 07:47:59 –

By Annalisa Burgos

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Kauai, Hawaii (KITV) — A tourist biral TikTok video that disturbs the Hawaiian monk seal is calling on the state to educate its visitors.

The islands are visited by an average of more than 30,000 travelers a day, and many say they are fed up with what they call rudeness.

The Hawaii Tourism Board and the Department of Land and Natural Resources carry out ongoing educational campaigns such as leaflets, billboards, advertisements and videos to tell tourists not to invade or touch wildlife.

However, while the majority of visitors respect protected areas and wildlife, some still do not receive the message.

The backlash was swift when a Louisiana woman’s social media post disturbing a sleeping monk’s seal on Kauai was talked about earlier this week.

“We were indignant at seeing this individual’s behavior. Obviously, it’s a federal crime,” said Kalani Ka’ana’ana, HTA’s chief brand officer.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that it is investigating the case.

Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar said: We have contacted NOAA’s federal partner and DOCARE’s state partner, but the issue is under investigation. “

Ka’ana’ana said she is working with state agencies, airlines, advertising agencies and travel agencies to distribute information that encourages people to travel to Pono.

In 2019, HTA and DLNR announced a series of Malama Hawaii public service announcements. At the time, DLNR spokesperson Dandenison said the video was being alternated between airline in-flight entertainment systems and hotel closed-circuit television systems in approximately 35,000 hotel rooms in the state. It is unknown which airline will continue to offer the video.

A Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson has confirmed that the in-flight system offers DLNRPSA. The career also has a “Travel Pono” educational program.

The problem, says Ka’ana’ana, is that travelers are not obliged to see PSA. It’s also available on airlines, hotels, online advertising and social media, but unless you’re looking for it, you won’t know it’s there.

“We can’t manage all the bad apples, but we’re doing everything we can to make sure the message about respecting wildlife is in compliance with the law. It just supports the right thing, “he said. “One of the hurdles we face is the lack of mandatory landing video required by the state, which is available to visitors to our infotainment system.”

“Watching the video may not be enough,” said Senator Bennett Misalcha, Vice-Chairman of the Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Commission. She upheld a Senate resolution requiring travelers to sign official documents granting certain rules, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture form required for all flights.

“By having tourists make a pledge, we can make sure they respect our cultural values ​​and recognize the vulnerabilities around us,” she said.

The Senate resolution failed to pass the House of Representatives, but she said recent wildlife breaches could renew interest.

“Is that what we can think of? I think the devil is in the details,” she said.

Stefanie Gutierrez, a spokesman for the NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office, sent this statement to KITV-4 regarding the seal breach causing all the backlash. OLE is actively investigating this case. If you have any information, please contact the NOAAOLE hotline. (800) 853-1964..

Hawaiian monk seals are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Hawaii Amendment Act 195D. Only about 1,400 people are estimated to be alive today. Any act of harassing, harming, pursuing, capturing, injuring, or killing an animal can result in fines or imprisonment.

To responsibly display protected monk seals, follow the NOAA guidelines for displaying Hawaiian marine wildlife. Keep a safe and respectful distance of 50 feet from the seal and 150 feet from the puppy’s mother seal. Stay behind barriers and signs and follow “rules of thumb” to determine where to feed monk seals. Make a “thumbs up” gesture, extend your arms straight ahead and keep your thumbs parallel to the ground. If your thumb covers the entire seal, it is far enough away. “

If you find a seal or witness a human-seal interaction, call the NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline. (888) 256-9840..

NOAA also provides educational materials.

10 Things You Can Do to Share Coasts and Seas with Pacific Islands Wildlife: fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/10-things-you-can-do-share-shore-and-sea-pacific-islands-wildlife

Share shore videos: fisheries.noaa.gov/video/share-shore-sea-turtles-and-other-marine-life-hawaii

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Viral video of tourist touching Hawaiian monk seal sparks outrage, calls for education Source link Viral video of tourist touching Hawaiian monk seal sparks outrage, calls for education

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