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Man Denies Slapping Endangered Monk Seal In Viral Video

Man Denies Slapping Endangered Monk Seal In Viral Video

A man has denied slapping an endangered seal after a video he shared went viral.

The video shows a man approaching the monk seal on Oʻahu beach, in Hawaii, before slapping it and running away as the seal turns around, clearly agitated.

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The video was originally posted on TikTok by user Eric Mustevoy, with the Akon song 'Smack That' dubbed over it.

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However, the video blew up after it was shared on Instagram page @hungruhungryhawaiian, which has 276,000 followers.

The man in the video was widely condemned by social media users, many of whom called for the perpetrator to be fined.

Eric has since deleted his TikTok account and apologised for sharing the video, though he claimed it was a stranger who slapped the seal.

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Speaking to Maui Now, he said: "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."

His original video had a caption that read, '@alextsvor got me into tiktok', but Alex - who is an acquaintance of Eric's - has denied having anything to do with the clip.

Speaking to Maui Now, he said: "I have no idea why that Eric kid tagged me under his post. I've never been to Hawaii, and I enjoy and respect nature."

The seal was clearly distressed by the slap. Credit: Instagram/hungryhungryhawaiian
The seal was clearly distressed by the slap. Credit: Instagram/hungryhungryhawaiian

The Hawaiian monk seal has become endangered due to a range of threats, from fishing net entanglements to disease, and it is illegal to disturb or harm them in both federal and state law.

The NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Regional Office said in a statement: "We cannot 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."

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/hungryhungryhawaiian

Topics: Viral, Instagram, World News, Animals, tiktok

Jake Massey

Jake Massey is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from Newcastle University, where he learnt a bit about media and a lot about living without heating. After spending a few years in Australia and New Zealand, Jake secured a role at an obscure radio station in Norwich, inadvertently becoming a real-life Alan Partridge in the process. From there, Jake became a reporter at the Eastern Daily Press. Jake enjoys playing football, listening to music and writing about himself in the third person.