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Stop domesticating the monk seals

As it had been reported recently in TGI and on the TV, a monk seal was killed again on Kauai and another one drowned in the fishing nets of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service on the Big Island.

It has been also announced that there is a $50,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who are responsible for the death of the monk seal.

We, Hawaiians do not support the senseless killing of animals. It was a suspicious death like several others before but this time the method of killing was not even revealed. Who or what caused it? We don’t know. Perhaps a shark, perhaps a human or perhaps the PMRF activity in the waters around Kauai. You want to avoid similar seal deaths? Then collect all these seals around us and take them away to the biggest monk seal colony in the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where they are not disturbed by humans and let nature take its course.

The monk seals are wild animals, but they are being pampered and overprotected when they come out on the beaches. Volunteers come and set up their signs to assure the undisturbed sleep of the monk seals to make sure that they go back into the ocean well rested to break our fishing nets and stealing the best fish and lobster from there.

The story that these mammals are native animals of the Hawaiian Islands is just a nice story invented to get the millions of dollars from the federal government for their protection year after year. According to the annual reports, the money is spent mostly for public awareness, which gives enough room for uncontrolled spending. A thorough audit would be necessary, because we are convinced that the money is not spent wisely. It could be used best for the benefit of the Hawaiians in need.

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, there are six protected whale species in the Hawaiian waters but there are no big monies paid for their protection and there is hardly any public awareness of them. There is some controversy, though.

The US Air Force is coming here to test their bombs and missiles for five years in our ocean 40 nautical miles from Kauai. That will undoubtedly kill many protected marine animals, including monk seals. The fact that they requested a letter of authorization from the NMFS to kill protected marine mammals during these bomb and missile testing exercises as reported in the TGI will not help the well-being of the protected species even if they sugarcoated the word “kill” and used “take” instead.

The most important factor is forgotten here. The overprotection of the monk seals at places frequented by people changes their natural habits. Wild animals instincts teaches them to stay away from humans and to go to safer places. Why alter this good habit? With the current practice, you domesticate them and do more harm than good. They don’t belong here.

The monk seal colony around the main Hawaiian Islands is maintained artificially for the almighty dollar without any benefit to us. And since they are predators, they interfere with our life and our fishing activity by stealing what we intend to eat plus damaging our fishing tools.

Our ancestors could easily solve the problems with predators without upsetting nature. Just that part of the chants is not publicized.

Here is another strange twist. As reported in the news to celebrate this monk seal campaign, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2017 “The Year of the Monk Seal.” Oh, how cute!

When will the US administration declare any year “The Year of Hawaiian Culture”? Are we Hawaiians as important in their eyes as the monk seals? We doubt it.

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Timothy Oga is a resident of Hanapepe.

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