Monk seal birth prompts new park closing time

Image source: Mike Sessions
Image source: Mike Sessions

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A Big Island beach park is closing earlier each night while it serves as a nursery.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports an endangered Hawaiian monk seal gave birth at Keokea Beach Park and it's being closed early each night to protect the mother and pup.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asked Hawaii County's Department of Parks and Recreation to close the North Kohala facility every night at 7:30.

The agencies are asking people to stay away from the seals.

Harassment can lead to fines up to $50,000 and a five-year prison sentence.

The new closing time will remain until further notice.

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