Two endangered Hawaiian monk seals have left Keōkea Beach Park, prompting the Department of Parks and Recreation to return to keeping the North Kohala park open until 11 p.m. each night.
A seal pup was born at the park in November, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, which requested the park be closed at 7:30 p.m. to protect the newborn and its mother.
NOAA has informed the Department of Parks and Recreation that the pup left the park’s shoreline last week and has not been sighted since, eliminating the need for the early closure time.
Hawaiian monk seals are protected under both federal and state laws. Anyone who intentionally harasses, harms or kills a Hawaiian monk seal could be fined up to $50,000 and ordered to serve a five-year prison sentence.
The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park users and the general public for understanding the need to protect one of Hawaii’s most unique and loved animals.
For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or firstname.lastname@example.org.