LIHUE — A man police say beat up a pregnant monk seal last year pleaded no contest on Wednesday.
Shylo Akuna appeared before Judge Kathleen Watanabe to change the not guilty plea he entered in May.
He was charged with illegally taking a monk seal, disorderly conduct and unreasonable intoxication after he was seen throwing sand and screaming at a seal, RK30, at Salt Pond Beach Park on April 26.
The seal started barking and “trying to bite the guy,” while Akuna tried to punch the seal, swinging his fists, records show.
Akuna, who lives in Eleele, then chased the seal into the water, police say.
The 20-year-old was arrested two days later.
On Wednesday, as part of a plea agreement, the state dropped the disorderly conduct and unreasonable intoxication charges.
Akuna is facing a maximum of one year in jail, which is part of the plea agreement, Watanabe said.
Taking a monk seal is a class C felony and is punishable by up to five years in jail.
RK30 gave birth to RH38 in the spring at Miloii and is in good condition, said Jamie Thomton, coordinator for the Kauai Marine Mammal Response Program.
“Her pup was not sighted again for the next seven months. However, she was recently photographed at Makua (Tunnels) beach and is in great body condition,” Thomton said.
Akuna is set to be sentenced May 31.