Reward doubles

LIHUE — A reward for information leading to a conviction of the person responsible for bludgeoning a female Hawaiian monk seal pup to death in Anahola has doubled. 

The reward is now at $10,000, up from $5,000 on Tuesday.

It is being offered by the Humane Society of the United States, the Conservation Council for Hawaii, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Monk Seal Foundation.

“The support these organizations are providing to help identify, arrest and convict the individual(s) responsible for this heinous act is invaluable in raising public awareness and generating information about this killing and previous ones,” William Aila, chair of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said in a statement Wednesday.

The young female, tagged as RF58, was born June 28 at Waipake Beach, on Kauai’s northeast coast. After surviving a dog attack in July, one that killed another female pup, RF58 had been spotted in healthy condition as recently as 24 hours prior to being found dead along a rocky beach in Anahola. 

According to the preliminary post-mortem report from the Marine Mammal Center and NOAA Fisheries’ Conservation Medicine Officer, “The seal likely did not die immediately, but from complications associated with massive trauma and internal bleeding.”

The death is being investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in cooperation with DLNR.

Killing a monk seal, a critically endangered species, is a Class C felony. Anyone convicted of the offense could face a fine of up to $50,000 and five years in prison.

The organizations are also offering $10,000 rewards for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in each of four previous illegal monk seal deaths in 2011 and 2012. Those include two on Kauai and two on Molokai.

The most recent death occurred in April of 2012 on Kauai, when a 3-year-old male was discovered on a rocky part of the island’s northeastern shore.

Call the DLNR Tipline with information at 1-855-DLNR-TIP. All information is held in confidence.

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