A mother monk seal and her pup are growing more active on Kaimana Beach and in adjacent waters and officials are urging people to stay alert in the area.
State Department of Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Kekoa Kaluhiwa said these wild animals can move quickly in the water.
“Mother seal RH58, also known as ‘Rocky,’ has already demonstrated natural protective behavior toward her pup when she recently charged a seal,” Kaluhiwa said. “She may bite if she perceives a threat.”
The mother seal gave birth to the pup in late June and is expected to stay for up to four more weeks, which can be dangerous for nearby swimmers as the seals are swimming more frequently.
Government organizations and officials say swimmers who swim back and forth for exercise, children and other distracted people in the water are vulnerable to a potentially serious attack. They warn people to remain aware their surroundings and heed to lifeguards, signs and other warnings.
As an endangered species, Hawaiian monk seals remain federally protected meaning that is illegal to disturb or harm them. Violators could be fined up to $50,000 and be sentenced to a year in prison.