Maui News

Hawksbill Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins on Maui

May 31, 2017, 5:11 PM HST
* Updated June 1, 5:26 AM
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Hawksbill and green (honu) sea turtles begin their 2017 nesting season along Maui beaches in June.

As sea turtles emerge onto beaches to lay their eggs, they leave distinctive 3 ft. wide tracks behind in the sand. Photo credit: Cheryl King.

The public is advised to be on the lookout for these endangered and threatened species.  Experts say the success of their nests is crucial for the survival of these native sea turtles.

The pubic is asked to report sightings of nesting turtles, fresh turtle tracks, or nest hatchlings on beaches around the island immediately.

US Fish & Wildlife Service “Dawn Patrol” volunteers walk key beaches every morning from June 1 to September 30 to search for tracks that nesting turtles leave in the sand.

USFWS, Department of Land & Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources and the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund 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.

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The public is asked follow several basic guidelines:

  • Sea Turtle Barrier Fence. Courtesy photo.

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    Please stay >30ft away from a nesting turtle and watch quietly, as they are easily disturbed.

  • Please stay >15ft away from a basking (resting, not nesting) green turtle and do not disturb it.
  • Please 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.
  • Please keep your dogs on a leash when walking on Maui beaches.
  • Please do not remove or tamper with the sea turtle barrier fence along North Kīhei highway which protects nesting sea turtles from crawling onto the highway.

The public is asked to contact one of the following organizations immediately if a nesting turtle, hatchlings, turtle tracks, or a turtle is found to be in trouble.

Contact information:

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DLNR DAR Skippy Hau: (808) 243-5294, [email protected]
USFWS Courtney Brown: (808) 268-6316, [email protected]
HWF Hannah Bernard: (808) 280-8124, [email protected]

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