EXCLUSIVE: Albatross death probe focuses on teens

Published: Jan. 13, 2016 at 4:02 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2016 at 5:43 PM HST
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KAENA POINT, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The deaths of at least three albatrosses and the destruction of 15 nests at Kaena Point last month may have been caused by teenagers.

Hawaii News Now has learned that state law enforcement officials want to question four students, several who attend Punahou School.

"I have no clue what the mindset of a person who would do something like this. It's just horrible for the environment, nature and Kaena Point itself," said Hawaiian monk seal advocate Kimo Smith, who discovered the dead birds two weeks ago.

About a dozen birds, whose nests were smashed, have not returned to the wildlife reserve and are also feared dead.

"It is a significant impact when you consider the number of birds together at this natural area preserve. It is important that we not lose any," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources declined comment, citing its pending investigation. That minors may be involved could complicate matters legally, but animal rights activists say the DLNR should pursue stiff penalties.

"Criminologists, psychologists, psychiatrists have long recognized a connections between animal cruelty and all other manner of crimes, even human violence," said Inga Gibson of the Humane Society of the United States.

Albatrosses are migratory birds that are protected by state and federal laws, which includes penalties of prison time, and thousands of dollars in fines.

Punahou School offered the following statement:

We were dismayed by the senseless destruction of albatross nests in the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve. This important nesting area and the surrounding reserve are wonderful educational resources for students in Hawaii.

It is disturbing to hear that teenagers with ties to Punahou, possibly including one current student, may have been involved in this incident. This deplorable act contradicts the values of the School, and the respect of our community and the environment that we promote.

The school is fully cooperating with the various agency investigations as they gather the facts about who was actually involved.

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