Tuesday | May 03, 2016
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Letters 9-25-13

Shark harassment should not be tolerated

I am writing this in response to an article in West Hawaii Today on Sept. 14, and the community’s outrage to the brutal harassment and torture of a tiger shark at Honokohau Harbor. Not only did this misguided youth go there with the intent to hurt an innocent animal, he had his friends take a video and they were laughing as they stood there. I barely can watch that dreadful video. What he chose to do will be etched in our minds of what is outright cruel and dishonorable.

In Hawaii, in our native culture, the mano (shark) is highly revered. Between the secular world and the spiritual world there are the aumakua, the family guardians. The mano is one of the foremost aumakua. It has been used for medicine, its skin for sacred pahu (drum) and its teeth for weapons. There are many legends of the mano, and its spirit of the aumakua goes beyond time. It is part of our traditional heritage.

We take pride in living here, with a history dating back thousands of years. The island is still steeped in the Hawaiian culture, with the most ancient sites in the state of Hawaii. This atrocious event brings shame to our island home.

Some residents call that mano Laverne. She frequently comes into the harbor and people would feed her. She is considered a “friendly” mano. Then, this teen took advantage of that. While throwing bait to her to fool her into thinking he was a friend, he then jabs her with a hook into her mouth. Does she still have the hook embedded in her mouth? Has anyone investigated her injuries?

This horrific episode of malevolence and evil with the intent to bring harm will not be tolerated. W There is also a Facebook photo of him harassing a baby monk seal, which is illegal. I believe what he did should be illegal and he should pay a fine. He made a bad choice and will continue to suffer consequences. We need to deter this outrageous, heinous kind of behavior.

I hope you learn your lesson. What goes around will come around, and then some. You get what you give. If you cannot be kind to our animals, our aumakua, in our sacred land, then it is time to go back to where you came from.

Puna Kihoi