- A couple was fined an undisclosed amount for disturbing an endangered seal during their honeymoon in June.
- It is a Class C felony to disturb a Hawaiian monk seal, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
- “We sincerely apologize if we offended any locals,” the husband, identified as Stephen, said.
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A Louisiana couple was fined after a video went viral of a woman touched an endangered Hawaiian monk seal at a Kauai beach during their honeymoon in Hawaii.
The video shows the woman touching and posing with the seal before it turned its head up and snapped at her, prompting her to run away. The couple faced backlash after the video, which was originally posted on TikTok, went viral after an Instagram account with the username “hhhviral” reposted the video, garnering more than 50,000 views as of Wednesday.
A post shared by HUNGRYHUNGRYHAWAIIAN Viral (@hhhviral)
“We didn’t see no signs,” the husband, identified as Stephen, told the Star Advertiser. “We didn’t know anything, but I know that’s no excuse.”
Stephen said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contacted him and his wife, Lakyn, after the incident in June to issue a fine of an undisclosed amount. US authorities are actively investigating the incident, according to a spokeswoman for the NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Regional Office.
“We sincerely apologize if we offended any locals,” Stephen said. “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.”
“We’re animal lovers. We weren’t trying to cause any harm or threaten or scare any animals,” he added. “We’re deeply sorry. We’ll learn from this mistake.”
The seal population is protected under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is a Class C felony to touch or disturb a Hawaiian monk seal, and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $50,000.
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