Hawaiian man faces federal charges after beating a seal

A man from Eleele, Kauai was arrested Thursday in connection with the beating of a pregnant, 17-year-old monk seal.

According to the release issued by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, 19-year-old Shylo Akuna was taken into custody by special agents at the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement after a video clip emerged on social media of him beating the seal.

Eyewitness accounts as well as the video, led to his arrest. He is being held at the Kauai Police Department for suspicion of “taking a monk seal.” The charge includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping and capturing an endangered or threaten aquatic species or terrestrial wildlife.

If convicted, he will be faced with one to five years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.

If anyone witnesses an endangered or threatened species being threatened or injured, call the NOAA Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the DOCARE statewide hotline at 643-DLNR.