Hawaiian Monk Seals: Don’t Touch! Visitor Injured In Latest

Unfortunately, we are writing once again about an incident involving Hawaiian Monk Seals. The issue went viral after a nursing monk seal lunged at and injured a visiting California woman who swam too close by at Honolulu’s Kaimana Beach, referred to below. The visitor, who reports say may have been previously warned, is heard screaming before a paddle boarder rescues her.

We found watching the following video very upsetting.

NOAA said, “We and partners continue to strongly urge swimmers and beach goers to stay at least 150 feet away from mother seals with pups. While monk seals are generally not aggressive, mother seals can be very protective of their pups and have inflicted serious wounds on nearby swimmers. We urge people to consider using alternate areas for water activities when mothers with pups are in the area.”

We recently reported on two other Hawaiian Monk Seal incidents.

Both times visitors on Kauai disregarded the law, good sense, and safety precautions and approached a monk seal.

In one that made the national press, as seen in the video below, a couple was on their Kauai honeymoon when they approached and tried to pet an endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. They claimed they did not know that what they did was wrong.

We were told that NOAA fined them, but we did not learn further details. Harassing or harming a Hawaiian Monk Seal is a felony with fines up to $50,000 and/or five years in prison.

The couple said, “We sincerely apologize if we offended any locals. The last thing we want to do is disrespect anyone or anybody’s culture or lifestyle. That’s something we’re really, really sorry about.”
The last time we wrote about a Hawaiian Monk Seal at Kaimana Beach.

It was a far happier event when a Hawaiian Monk Seal was born at Kaimana Beach, Waikiki. That was only the second seal to be born there. We, too, love that beach near the zoo in Waikiki. The perennial favorite has excellent swimming and is adjacent to the Waikiki Natatorium. It is popular with both locals and visitors. And now, apparently with Hawaiian monk seals, at least until yesterday

Hawaiian Monk Seals need their distance from us.

Your help is urgently needed to protect these most endangered seal species. DLNR maintains a hotline for any problems associated with monk seals at 888-256-9840.

Leave a Comment

Comment policy:
* No profanity, rudeness, personal attacks, or bullying.
* Hawaii focused only. General comments won't be published.
* No links or UPPER CASE text. English please.
* No duplicate posts or using multiple names.
* Use a real first name, last initial.
* Comments edited/published/responded to at our discretion.
* Beat of Hawaii has no relationship with our commentors.
* 750 character limit.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

30 thoughts on “Hawaiian Monk Seals: Don’t Touch! Visitor Injured In Latest”

  1. I’ve never been to any of the islands there and I learned something today.It’s unfortunate for the endangered animals and the not so thoughtful humans.I hope people learn to respect wildlife and marine life from a distance. Thank you for sharing these stories.

  2. I’m also thinking that many of these folks commenting do not spend time in the ocean-I do -I swim at rugged isolated places,always with complete respect and the knowledge of co existence with marine life-turtles often swim up to me,near and below me—it is not my intention to be near them,but because I am in i
    their environment we co -exist -so,will I be guilted ,demonized if I am seen near a turtle who chooses to swim near me?

  3. I respect the monk seals but this attack was unprovoked,stop demonizing her,the swimmer
    I could have been that swimmer ,on an early swim at Kalapaki Beach Kauai to the bouy,a monk seal chose to follow me,swim close to me,before it disappeared –

  4. And now the rest of the story.

    Hawaii State Investigators say the Monk Seal attack was unprovoked. The swimmer was part of a daily morning swim group of about 9 or 10 swimmers. The Monk seal, Rocky, was in distress calling for her missing pup which had swum in to he structure’s dilapidated pool. Rocky found the pup in the pool, but spotted the swimmers in the ocean and went after them unprovoked.

    The woman, a teacher, had knowledge of the pups birth and knew to stay 150 away form the seals

    Don’t jump to conclusions before getting the whole story.

  5. Hi. Just wanted to give you a heads up on rental cars from discount Hawaiian car rentals. I reserved a car about 3 weeks ago for a week in Kauai for mid May 2023. I got a reservation for mid size $275 for a week Same car today on site 875! Thanks for all your great news Andy

    1. Hi Andy.

      Thanks for the feedback on the ongoing Hawaii car rental situation. We too never know what to expect any longer.


  6. I volunteer on Oahu to provide outreach and information to the public when Hawaiian Monk Seals haul out. I’m never surprised by the disconnect so many people have with reality. These are beautiful, wild, protected animals. They don’t come out to entertain. Yet, many view them as ‘an attraction’. Worse or those who think ‘I love animals, they can sense it’. Please, follow the direction of posted signs or those of us on watch, airlines and tour companies should also be required to provide educational info to visitors prior to arrival. Aloha.

  7. Many monk seals have been injured or killed by those living in Hawaii, particularly in the 21st century. Yet l can’t recall any of these incidents where the criminal was caught and prosecuted. Why is that?

  8. We’ve observed Monk Seals 3x on Kauai from a respectful distance–just watching them sleep & rest. They’re magnificent. Sometimes there’s a volunteer guard with his lunch & a fence around. What the h__l was she thinking–or not. Hope she has big medical bills & a heavy fine & no-one will help her out on Go Fund the idiot. In CA @ Yosemite we often hear stories of deer mauling little kids who are trying to feed them @ the direction of a so-called parent or the man (who never should have been allowed to breed) putting a cookie on the seat of his car next to his small son so he could photograph the boy with a bear who of course was eager to have a cookie. Didn’t end well.
    Hi guys love the news from the Isla

  9. 100% should be arrested and heavily fined….some people in the world are Idiots! Don’t mess with a Mama Bear!!! Look at never-ending incidents across our National Parks, Yellowstone in particular….Unfortunately, you cannot Fix Stupid


Scroll to Top