VIDEO: Maui Ocean Center Receives Green Sea Turtle HatchlingsSeptember 11, 2015, 5:01 PM HST · Updated September 11, 5:38 PM 0 Comments
The Maui Ocean Center welcomed six new green sea turtle hatchlings to the facility’s Turtle Lagoon this month.
The baby honu are just two months old and weigh just four ounces each; but at full growth, representatives at the Maui Ocean Center say the species is recognized as the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world.
The turtles are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act and are on temporary loan from Sea Life Park Hawaiʻi as part of an educational loan program authorized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Through the program, the Maui Ocean Center has released a total of 54 green sea turtles over the past 17 years to the open ocean.
After two to three years, they will be released into the Hawaiian waters at a location approved by the agencies. Just two weeks ago, six juvenile green sea turtles that grew up at the Maui Ocean Center were released into waters off of Maui. The new hatchlings replace those that were released in order to maintain the facility’s educational display program.
The turtle hatchlings were born on July 4, 2015, coincidentally sharing the same birthday as the Aquarium’s existing turtles that arrived last year.
A special blessing was held last week Tuesday to welcome the baby honu to their new home on Maui.
“Green sea turtles have been a cornerstone in the Aquarium’s education program since opening its doors to the public in 1998,” said John Gorman, Maui Ocean Center’s Curatorial Manager in a press release announcement. “Through participation in Sea Life Park Hawaii’s Hawaiian green sea turtle Education Loan Program, Maui Ocean Center is able to exhibit the turtles through presentations and engaging encounters with the purpose of educating and connecting with the hundreds of thousands of visitors and kamaʻāina who visit the Aquarium each year. The turtles inspire wonder, understanding, and respect for their species, a core element of our mission at Maui Ocean Center.”
The Aquarium will host a turtle-naming contest in the near future to give the honu hatchlings their Hawaiian names.