Woman Swimming In Sea Is Attacked By Endangered Seal In Terrifying Encounter
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Featured Image Credit: KITV4
Shocking footage filmed from the waterside shows the moment an endangered seal attacked a woman swimming in the ocean in Hawaii.
The incident took place on 24 July, approximately two weeks after a Hawaiian monk seal pup was born on Kaimana Beach in Waikiki.
Markus Faigle was in the area when he spotted the pup's mother targeting the swimmer and managed to catch the incident on camera, showing the moment the mother pulled the unnamed swimmer underwater while onlookers shouted from the shore.
See the scene unfold here:
The woman has been identified by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources as a 60-year-old primary school teacher from California. She received lacerations to her face, arm and back as a result of the attack and had to be carried away from the water by bystanders before being transported by emergency services for further care.
Hawaii Marine Animal Response shared a statement on Facebook after the incident to say it had been monitoring the seal pup and its mother and providing outreach to the public at the location. It urged people to remember seal mums with pups are 'protective, can be dangerous and have inflicted serious wounds on nearby swimmers'.
"We continue to warn people not to engage in in-water activities when a monk seal mother with a pup are in the area and to stay at least 150 feet from mother seals with pups... Continued vigilance is advised for several more weeks until the mother monk seal weans her pup," the statement continued.
After witnessing the scene firsthand, Faigle expressed belief the incident should not be considered a 'seal attacking a human'.
Speaking to CBS News, he explained: "It's a mama seal that's protecting its pup, and there happens to be a human who is at the wrong place at the wrong time. So it's not a seal attacking a human; that's for me the totally wrong way of looking at this."
According to Faigle, the mother approached the swimmer after losing her pup around a corner, prompting her to start barking.
He explained: "I can't imitate it, but it basically freezes your soul because she's looking for the pup and then she found the pup and then she went back to the part where she normally is, the Diamond Head side of the beach."
The injured woman's husband told officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources she could not hear people shouting at swimmers to get out of the area because her head was in the water.
It is against the law in the US to touch, harass, injure or kill monk seals.
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