Six Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles Released into Maui Waters
The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (honu) is one of the most the most beloved native species that you can find here on Maui. They show up in a seemingly endless array of artwork, jewelry, gifts, film, photographs, and the list goes on. Why are they so popular? Well, sea honu sightings tend to leave a lasting impression on residents and visitors alike. There’s something captivating about these unique marine reptiles. The best way to understand the fascination is to catch a glimpse of them yourself. Luckily for us and for our guests, they tend to be a common sight on our Lanai snorkel boat trips. If you’re on the island, maybe you’ll have the opportunity to join us and view them in their natural habitat.
If we’re lucky, we may even spot one of the six young honu that were recently released into the waters of Ma’alaea Bay by the Maui Ocean Center (MOC). Yes, humans have had to step in to help ensure future generations of honu, because they are listed as an endangered species. These particular turtles were born in captivity at Sea Life Park in 2015 and then raised at the MOC. During their time at the aquarium, they helped educate visitors about the lives of honu and the threats that they’re facing. Once they reached an appropriate age, it was time for their release, which they performed with a private ceremony.
The six turtles were each given names: Maluhia, Mohalu, Kao Lele, Lipaki, Koa and Kunoa. Unlike some of the turtles that have been released in the past, these haven’t been fitted with GPS trackers, but they do have what’s called a Passive Integrated Transponder Tag, which allows them to be identified if they’re found. Also, their shells are marked with “MOC” and they are individually numbered one through six. If you happen to spot one, the MOC would appreciate if you’d give them a call at (808) 270-7075 or reach them via social media to let them know which individual you saw and where it was located.
So, if you join one of our Maui snorkeling tours, you’ll have yet another reason to keep your eyes peeled for these animals. The odds of spotting one of these six turtles is low, especially considering the many wild individuals out there in addition to the 66 other turtles that the MOC has released since 1998. But stranger things have happened! In fact, the turtles that did have GPS trackers in the past tended to stay in the waters surrounding Maui, with the exception of one individual that made the long journey to both O’ahu and the Big Island. If most of the released turtles stay in the area, we have higher odds of spotting them as we travel the waters of Maui County.
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