Paintballs Used to Vandalize Hawaii's 300-year-old Olowalu Carvings

Hawaiian authorities are appealing for information after a historical cultural site was vandalized by at least one person who apparently fired at it with a paintball gun.

In a statement posted on Wednesday, Hawaii's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) said it had been notified of what it called "serious vandalism" on Tuesday.

DOCARE said someone with a paintball gun "fired shot after shot" onto the Olowalu Petroglyphs—a collection of about 100 historic images that were chiselled into a cliff by Hawaiians on the island of Maui.

The petroglyphs are known as Pu'u Kilea in the Hawaiian language, and depict human and animal figures, as well as sails, according to Some of the images are thought to be more than 300 years old, Britannica states, and they are believed to represent the legends of early Hawaiians.

Lt. John Yamamoto of DOCARE said in a statement it is "hurtful to see this kind of disrespect for our culture" and guessed that "several hundred" paintballs were fired at the site.

Yamamoto added: "White and yellow splotches of paint are spread across nearly the entire cliff face from the top to the base and from one side to the other."

He said that the attack appeared to be random, and that the paintball gun had probably been fired from a nearby road.

If found, the vandals could face charges of criminal property damage and civil penalties, DOCARE said.

The Site of a Deadly Battle

According to, Olowalu is known as the site of a deadly battle that took place in 1790, in which an American ship opened fire on Hawaiian canoes, killing more than 100 men and injuring more than 200. The captain of the ship was said to have been upset because of a stolen boat.

The massacre led Big Island Chief Kame'eiamoku to respond by killing the crew of the next Western ship that arrived, states. One of the crew reportedly survived and later went on to become an adviser to King Kamehameha the Great.

DOCARE said Lt. Yamamoto hopes anyone with information about the paintball shots will come forward.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, authorities in Escambia County, Florida, said that two loggerhead turtle nests appeared to have been damaged over the 4th of July weekend.

In a Facebook post, Escambia County Natural Resources Management said one nest enclosure had been broken while another showed signs of digging. The group added: "While it appears as if both nests are alright this is unacceptable."

Sea turtles are protected by state and federal law.

A file image of a paintball gun lying on the floor with some yellow paintballs around it. Hawaiian official Lt. John Yamamoto said it looked as though hundreds of paintballs were fired at the Olowalu Petroglyphs site. catalin_petru/Getty