This Dec. 29, 2015, photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources shows an albatross that had been killed on the nest with one egg at Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve on the western most point of Oahu in Hawaii.
HONOLULU – A 19-year-old student accused of the killing of seabirds on Hawaii’s nature reserve pleaded not guilty Tuesday to animal cruelty.
Defendant Christian Gutierrez did not speak to reporters as he and his lawyer left a Honolulu courthouse after the brief arraignment.
He turned to the Hawaii Department of Public Safety last week and was released on $25,000 bail. He made arrangements with the officers of justice are about to give up while he was home in Honolulu for the winter break from school, his lawyer, Myles Breiner said.
According to the police, he attends New York University.
The Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, began the investigation after three as it turned out dolphins were found dead last year in Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve. There were 12 attending adult birds is missing, which was worrisome because the birds never leave an egg unattended, the department said. There were also 15 destroyed nests with each other, dead or missing eggs, the department added.
As it turned out the albatross is a federally protected species.
Court documents charging Gutierrez with 14 counts of animal cruelty and other charges say that the crimes were committed, Dec. 27, 2015. He is also accused of the theft of seabird monitoring cameras and sound equipment with a value of $3,100.
Breiner said last week that his client was camping at Kaena Point with classmates from Punahou School, a prestigious prep school in Honolulu.
“He was there when this happened, but he did not injure birds,” Breiner said. “He did not. He didn’t have to maim or touch the animals, period.”
Breiner said there are two other arrests in connection with the matter that is dealt with in the juvenile court.
Punahou School said in a statement that condemned the destruction of the albatross breeding area and was disturbed to hear teenagers with ties to the school may be involved.