The hectic holiday season can easily cause a few verbal disputes among families, but a viral video posted on Christmas Day shows one family getting into a shouting match with a group of reckless tourists harassing a wild animal.
In a TikTok shared by Lizzie (@lizzielee), she and her family were having Christmas dinner in Hawaii when they spotted a group of tourons — a term for tourists acting like morons — entering a prohibited area: the protective barrier for a monk seal.
The family began to yell at the tourons to get them to leave as they realized the trespassers were attempting to take photos next to the seal.
Respect the boundaries put in place to protect the wildlife in Hawaii. Spend time with your family on Christmas instead of disturbing the animals. ** after this the mom sent 2 young children to try to retrieve the phone for the girl. **♬ Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Thankfully, the tourons quickly left the scene as they were reprimanded, but one of the girls lingered as she was noted to have left her phone behind in the closed-off section of the beach.
“Respect the boundaries put in place to protect the wildlife in Hawaii,” Lizzie captioned her post.
According to the National Park Service, the Hawaiian monk seal is one of the islands’ most endangered mammals, currently making up just one-third of its previously recorded population numbers.
In order to promote safety and respect for the monk seal, viewers are advised to stay at least 50 feet away from monk seals and 150 feet away from mother seals and their pups.
The monk seal’s annual molting process is critical to its health by keeping their coat clean and free of algae growth, and getting too close to the animal at such a vulnerable time could cause it to become scared, stressed, or even aggressive.
Protecting the Earth starts with an appreciation for its inhabitants and resources, especially wildlife in danger of extinction.
Even if one is unsure about the status of an animal’s population, approaching wild animals in their natural habitat is inappropriate behavior that shows blatant carelessness for the natural world. Treating animals as photography props only adds to the exploitative actions of tourons.
Commenters on the video praised the family for doing their part to defend the gentle creature from being scared and exploited by the perpetrators.
“I loved how aggressively protective they are of the animals there,” one TikToker celebrated.
“Currently on the island of Hawaii for Christmas, first time ever being here on any island. Never in my mind would I think to pass through barriers for a picture,” another user shared.
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