NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and community partners are offering a reward of up to $8,800 ($3,800 from the community and up to $5,000 from NOAA) for information that leads to a civil penalty or criminal conviction in the March 2023 death of juvenile Hawaiian monk seal RQ76, or Malama. The monk seal, which is protected under federal law, was found dead at ʻŌhikilolo, between Keaʻau Beach Park and Mākua Valley, on Oʻahu.
"We're asking for help from anyone who may have seen or heard anything related to the killing of this endangered animal which is not only a violation of federal law but a hateful act against all the people who call Hawaiʻi their home," said Frank Giaretto, Deputy Special Agent in Charge with NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement, Pacific Islands Division.
Anyone with information should contact NOAA’s Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964. To report a dead, injured, or stranded marine mammal, call the Pacific Islands Region Marine Mammal Response Network at (888) 256-9840.
The monk seal was first investigated at the scene by our partners at the Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response recovered RQ76 and transported the seal to a NOAA facility for post-mortem examination. Initial results indicated the seal died of severe blunt-force trauma. Furthermore, after consulting with national experts, the suspected cause of death was determined to most likely be an intentional killing.
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered seal species in the world. They are native to the Hawaiian archipelago—found nowhere else in the world—and are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Hawai‘i law. The monk seal population has been in decline for six decades, but numbers have been increasing over the past 10 years due in part to NOAA’s and partners’ recovery efforts.