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Hawksbill and green sea turtle nesting season underway

By Staff | Jun 15, 2017

As sea turtles emerge onto beaches to lay their eggs, they leave distinctive three-foot-wide tracks behind in the sand. PHOTO BY C. KING.

Hawksbill and green (honu) sea turtles begin their 2017 nesting season along Maui beaches in June. Please be on the lookout for them! As endangered and threatened species, the success of their nests is crucial for the survival of these native sea turtles.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) “Dawn Patrol” volunteers walk key beaches every morning from June 1 to Sept. 30 to search for tracks that nesting turtles leave in the sand.

USFWS, Department of Land & Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DLNR DAR) and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) work collectively and alongside volunteers to identify, mark and protect sea turtle nests; collect nesting data; and share their knowledge with beachgoers on how to help conserve sea turtles.

Respect the sea turtles:

1) Stay more than 30 feet away from a nesting turtle and watch quietly, as they are easily disturbed.

2) Stay more than 15 feet away from a basking (resting, not nesting) green turtle and do not disturb it.

3) Do not pick up hatchlings and put them in the ocean. They need to crawl into the ocean on their own to set their navigational compass and increase their chance of survival.

4) Keep your dogs on a leash when walking on Maui beaches.

5) Do not remove or tamper with the sea turtle barrier fence along North Kihei Road, which protects nesting sea turtles from crawling onto the highway.

Please contact one of these organizations immediately if you find a nesting turtle, hatchlings, fresh turtle tracks or a turtle in trouble: DLNR DAR, Skippy Hau, (808) 243-5294 or Skippy.Hau@hawaii.gov; USFWS, Courtney Brown, (808) 268-6316 or courtney_brown@fws.gov; HWF, Hannah Bernard, (808) 280-8124 or wild@aloha.net.