$30K reward offered to help solve suspicious monk seal slayings - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

$30K reward offered to help solve suspicious monk seal slayings

Hawaiian monk seal Hawaiian monk seal
State offering $30,000 reward State offering $30,000 reward
Inga Gibson Inga Gibson
DLNR Chair William Aila, Jr. DLNR Chair William Aila, Jr.

By Oscar Valenzuela

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is now offering a reward of up to $30,000 to help catch whoever is killing Hawaiian monks seals, and with this new reward comes a new hotline.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Department of Land and Natural Resources have instituted a program they hope will help solve the mysterious slaughter of three Hawaiian monk seals since last November.

Two seals were found slain on Molokai, and just two days into the new year, a Hawaiian monk seal carcass was found at Pi-Laa beach on the north side of Kauai.

Inga Gibson, who runs the Hawaii chapter of The Humane Society help set up the hotline in cooperation with the DLNR.

"The first offering under the new tip-line and reward program will be for information leading to the arrest and the conviction of the person or persons responsible for these cruel acts," she explained.

The hotline number is 1-855-DLNR-TIP. It's a 24 hour toll free number which can be used by anyone with information about impending cases.

The DLNR's enforcement agency DOCARE says the information is held in confidence and investigators will follow up on any leads.

The reward money will be given to anyone whose tip leads to the arrest and conviction of any violators.

In this official first case, organizations have matched the original $2,500 reward, raising the total to $15,000 plus an added donation.

"We also have a very generous local anonymous donor that has matched the $15,000 that we have put up so right now we have an offering of up to $30,000 or $10,000 for the three incidents," said Gibson.

Rewards will be issued for future cases as well.

"It could be turtles, it could be whales, it could be dolphins, it could be any violation that includes the death and destruction of marine and other wildlife," explained DLNR Chair William Aila, Jr.

The organizations say they hope this effort will serve as a deterrent for future wildlife offenses but they also want to bring these recent perpetrators to justice.

Last year, the state toughened the law, making it a felony to kill a monk seal. Violators can spend five years in jail and be subject to a $50,000 fine.

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