There's just something about tourists, right? There is a certain type of person who travels to a different country, doesn't truly take time to learn or understand their culture, then causes total havoc. But the latest couple to go viral for a travel blunder may have taken things too far - and are now facing legal consequences.
A Louisiana couple on their honeymoon in Hawaii has found themselves in hot water after not only touching an endangered Hawaiian monk seal but posting a video of the evidence online. The video, which shows the new wife approaching the seal on the beach in Kauai by reaching out her arm and disturbing it before running away as it tries to bite her, quickly went viral.
They've since deleted the video from TikTok, but a popular meme account reposted it on Instagram, where it has garnered tens of thousands of views.
The Hawaiian monk seal population is protected under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. This makes it a Class C felony to touch or disturb any of these animals. Doing so carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Undoubtedly, people were absolutely disgusted by what they were seeing.
"This is why people in other countries hate American tourists. Can't even respect another state, how obnoxious are they going to be in a whole 'nother country!" one person commented.
"Tourists do this all the time with the seals pupping at the Children's Pool in La Jolla and it makes me so mad. If you love wildlife like they claim to, they you should know to leave it alone. It's very common knowledge that it is illegal to touch endangered species. And even if there wasn't a sign where they were, there are signs ALL OVER Hawaii telling people to not touch the wildlife... just because you didn't see a sign on that particular beach doesn't mean it's okay. Ignorance is no excuse. They could have caused harm to the seal or the seal could have harmed them," added another.
"We didn't see no signs," the husband, identified as Stephen, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "We didn't know anything, but I know that's no excuse. We sincerely apologize if we offended any locals. The last thing we want to do is disrespect anyone or anybody's culture or lifestyle. That's something we're really, really sorry about. We're animal lovers. We weren't trying to cause any harm or threaten or scare any animals," he added. "We're deeply sorry. We'll learn from this mistake."
It's been confirmed by Stephen they were issued with a fine by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, although how much it was is not known. A representative has also confirmed that authorities are investigating the incident.