Man charged with harassing Hawaiian monk seal

Man charged with harassing Hawaiian monk seal

HONOLULU (AP) - A 40-year-old man suspected of harassing an endangered monk seal last week has been charged with a felony and jailed.

Witnesses told Honolulu Police that James Rice on Thursday got to within six feet of the seal at a Nanakuli beach and ignored warnings by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration volunteers to back off.

The arresting officer says Rice threw sand at the animal, which became agitated and moved.

reports Rice was jailed at Oahu Community Correctional Center and was unable to post bail of $15,000.

The Hawaiian monk seal was listed as endangered in 1976.

State lawmakers four years ago passed a law that makes harassing any endangered Hawaii animals a felony.

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