People have been warned to be careful when visiting the Mokulua Islands off Kailua.
Nā Mokulua are two islets, Moku Nui and Moku Iki, and are commonly known as “the Mokes.”
The islets are a bird sanctuary for endangered species, and some of them nest in burrows on the ground.
Now the focus is on dogs that are brought to the island after pictures were posted on social media of beachgoers breaking the law.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is reminding the public of restrictions for those off-shore islets.
The incident happened earlier this week when a kayaker brought a dog into the islands and it got near a Hawaiian monk seal.
A tour company told KHON2 it sees incidents like this on a regular basis.
Kiki Yuen, with Kailua Ocean Adventures, said he just paddled ashore at Mokulua Islands when he noticed the dog walking around on the beach.
“It started wandering toward the Hawaiian monk seal and there was a volunteer. She started yelling at them and then the dog ran back,” Yuen said.
Not only are the endangered monk seals there, the islands are also home to the Wedge-tailed shearwater bird, another endangered species.
“The dog was just running around. I went up to them and told them that dogs aren’t allowed out here, it’s a bird sanctuary. They just kind of nodded and went on their way,” Yuen said.
People trespassing into protected areas is another problem.
“Two people were climbing up the hills of the Mokes which is a protected area. We see a lot of different people and a lot of different situations out there,” Yuen said.
State law prohibits dogs, alcohol, bonfires and camping on the Mokulua Islands. Violators could face a fine of $200.
Whether people don’t know the rules or just don’t care, Kailua Ocean Adventures told KHON2 it’s concerned the illegal activity will eventually close the Mokes down for everyone.
“It all comes down to social media,” Joe Banks, also with Kailua Ocean Adventures, said. “Everyone sees that picture and it’s a nice picture but it’s dangerous, too.”
The DLNR said a loose dog that damages a seabird colony could set recovery efforts back 10 years or more.
“I think everyone just needs to understand too that it is a bird sanctuary,” Banks said. “A lot of people look at the Mokulua Islands as a little party zone whether it’s local people or visitors to the islands. People need to understand that it’s out there with endangered species that we need to protect so that our kids and future generations can experience it the same.”
DLNR stresses it’s important to notify the agency immediately if you see illegal activity on any off-shore islets.
You can make a report through the DLNRtip app or you can call 808-643-DLNR (3567).