Kauai man sentenced for harassing pregnant Hawaiian monk seal

Shylo Akuna

A Kauai man accused of harassing a Hawaiian monk seal learned his fate Wednesday.

Shylo Kaena Akuna, 20, of Lihue, received a four-year sentence for an incident that occurred on April 26, 2016 at Salt Pond Beach Park in Hanapepe.

Video taken by a bystander allegedly showed Akuna aggressively harassing the seal, who officials say was pregnant at the time with her seventh known pup.

Akuna was apparently highly intoxicated during the incident.

“Animal abuse is often a precursor to other types of violence and cannot be tolerated in our community,” said Kauai Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar. “Our natural environment is crucial to us in Hawaii; this includes respect for our endangered species. To the best of our knowledge this is the first conviction under the felony monk seal harassment statute and we are satisfied that the sentence was appropriate and will serve to protect the community from this defendant.”

Akuna pleaded no contest in February to “taking a monk seal prohibited.” Two other charges were dismissed with prejudice.

Court records show that Akuna was also sentenced on June 23, 2017, to one year in jail for the unrelated theft and slaughter of a goat from a pasture on Kauai’s west side in January of last year.

Akuna still faces charges regarding another unrelated case involving an alleged burglary of a room at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Poipu in March.

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