Groups offer $30,000 to solve monk seal killings

Jan 12, 2012, 1:59 AM

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) – Animal protection groups concerned about the recent slayings of three Hawaiian monk seals offered up to $30,000 on Wednesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects.

The mysterious series of killings of the critically endangered species prompted the announcement of the reward, believed to be the highest ever in Hawaii in a wildlife case.

Less than 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals are left in the world, and scientists say the species is on course to vanish in 50 to 100 years.

“I’m sure someone knows something out there,” said William Aila, chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Since November, two seals were found bludgeoned to death on the remote island of Molokai, and a slain seal was recently found on Kauai. Up to $10,000 is being offered in each of the killings. A fourth possible killing on Molokai is also under investigation.

“We’re all struggling with the `why?'” Aila said. “Why would anyone do this to such social, fun-loving animals in Hawaii that have a close relationship with not only with Native Hawaiians but the local population?”

Hawaiian monk seals were hunted in the late 19th century and their population has been impacted by humans since then through killings, marine debris, entanglement in fishing gear, disease and loss of habitat.

Aila said the seals are vital to Hawaii’s marine ecosystem and called the killings “inexcusable environmentally and culturally.” It’s also a federal and state crime to kill or harm one of the animals. Under state law, those found guilty face up to $50,000 in fines and five years in prison.

“This barbaric treatment of these warm animals is something that we cannot continue to do,” he said. “We’re going to have to find a way to co-exist with Hawaiian monk seals. There is no other option on the islands right now.”

The money was put up by several groups and an anonymous local donor.

The Humane Society of the United States has pledged up to $2,500 for each case, or $7,500 total, while the Conservation Council for Hawaii, Center for Biological Diversity and the Marine Conservation Institute are collectively offering $7,500.

The remaining $15,000 has been offered by an anonymous donor.

“The Humane Society of the United States is very concerned because research has long demonstrated that those who are cruel to animals are often times cruel and also commit violent acts against people,” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii director of the group.

She hopes the reward serves as a deterrent and “bring these perpetrators to justice” or have them turn themselves in.

The killings of the seals, which are endemic to Hawaii, have stunned this island state. They are coming as the federal government steps up its efforts to protect the seals, leading to simmering resentment among some fishermen who fear new regulations will trample upon their right to fish. The killings are also happening as the misguided notion spreads that the animals aren’t native to Hawaii and don’t belong here.

Aila said people need to put their differences, misinformation and misconceptions aside.

“We have to move forward and understand that the world is changing due to climate change issues, due to population issues,” he said. “The monk seals are, have been and will continue to be a part of our existence here in Hawaii.”

___

The confidential, toll-free tip line is 1-855-DLNR-TIP (1-855-356-7847)

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - Hells Angels founder Ralph "Sonny" Barger and his wife Sharon are shown after his release on...
Associated Press

Sonny Barger, figurehead of Hells Angels, dies at 83

LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) — Sonny Barger, the leather-clad figurehead of the notorious Hells Angels motorcycle club, has died. He was 83. Barger’s death was announced on his Facebook page late Wednesday. “If you are reading this message, you’ll know that I’m gone. I’ve asked that this note be posted immediately after my passing,” a posting […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

2nd visitor in 3 days gored by Yellowstone park bison

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — For the second time in three days, a visitor to Yellowstone National Park was gored by a bison, park officials said Thursday. A 71-year-old woman from West Chester, Pennsylvania and her daughter inadvertently approached the bison Wednesday as they were returning to their vehicle at a Yellowstone Lake trailhead. […]
12 hours ago
The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in New York. Americans with stock portfolio...
Associated Press

From stocks to crypto, a punishing six months for investors

Americans with stock portfolios or retirement investment plans would likely prefer to forget the last six months. The S&P 500, Wall Street’s broad benchmark for many stock funds, was on pace Thursday afternoon for a 20% loss through the end of June after starting the year at an all-time high. It’s the worst start to […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Texas police: 4 migrants killed in smuggling attempt

ENCINAL, Texas (AP) — Four migrants died Thursday and three other people were injured in a highway crash in Texas that authorities described as another fatal human smuggling attempt during a tragic week near the U.S.-Mexico border. The crash happened in Encinal, a small town where a tractor-trailer carrying migrants passed through Monday before ending […]
12 hours ago
FILE - School-choice advocate Ellen Weaver smiles at the Statehouse on March 7, 2022, in Columbia, ...
Associated Press

Education leader race features qualification questions in SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A conservative think tank CEO who promises to fight against critical race theory and supports giving children public money for scholarships to private schools would appear to be a heavy favorite in November to be elected the new leader of schools in conservative South Carolina. But Ellen Weaver has what could […]
12 hours ago
FILE - Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani listens to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey La...
Associated Press

Iran says it’s ready for new talks with US on nuclear deal

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran said Thursday it is ready for new indirect talks with the United States to overcome the last hurdles to revive its tattered 2015 nuclear deal with major powers amid a growing crisis over the country’s atomic program. Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told the U.N. Security Council that the […]
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Groups offer $30,000 to solve monk seal killings