I will never understand how people can callously abuse wildlife simply for entertainment.
Sadly, it seems a growing trend online; too often do we see videos wherin individuals mess with wild animals out of some barbaric need to try and create funny content for the internet.
At the weekend a shocking video went viral wherein a man is seen slapping an endangered seal on a beach in Hawaii.
In the footage, uploaded to TikTok by user Eric Mustevoy, the man can be seen running up behind the monk seal on O’ahu beach, before hitting it and then running away as it turns in distress.
He’s since denied involvement in the incident, though the backlash online has been fierce.
The video went viral after being shared to Instagram page @hungruhungryhawaiian, which has some 276,000 followers. Social media users were rightly horrified, with many calling for the culprit to face a fine.
Eric has since reportedly deleted his TikTok account and begged forgiveness for sharing the disturbing clip. He claims it was a stranger who slapped the seal.
He told Maui Now: “That was not me that did that. I just witnessed some guy doing it and captured it on camera.
“I was just recording the video and I noticed some people taking pics with it and this guy just ran and did it. I would never do that in the first place. And I wouldn’t be stupid to post it if I did it, because I know it’s illegal. But I was wrong for posting it.”
The seal in question, a Hawaiian monk seal, is part of a species labelled endangered due to increasing threats related to fishing net entanglements and disease. It’s illegal by federal and state law to disturb or harm them.
NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Regional Office released a statement wherein they stated they could not comment on an ongoing investigation.
“However, we want to remind the public that Hawaiian monk seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, and we recommend everyone follow our viewing guidelines for monk seals and other marine wildlife.
“These guidelines have been developed to maximise human safety, seal safety, and legal compliance. To report suspected monk seal protection violations or to provide information that may be relevant to an ongoing investigation, please call the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement hotline at: (800) 853-1964.”
I can’t believe in this day and age people think they can still get away with disrespecting and violating wild animals. To do so simply for ‘likes’ on the internet is another level of low.
Share this article if you hope the person responsible is found and brought to justice.