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Let sleeping honu lie - please!

Kaua'i, HI
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Let sleeping honu lie - please!

Aloha from Kaua'i!

One of our endangered sea critters here is the green sea turtle - also known by its Hawaiian name - "honu".

These turtles are highly endangered and many times will pull themselves up on a beach in order to sleep after feeding. If they are scared, etc. by people getting too close, touching them (or worse!) - they will go back into the water where they then become easy prey for their natural predator - the sharks.

Here is a good article on the efforts of some people to educate visitors about these turtles and how apparently some will not only go up and touch them, but straddle them for a picture!

hawaiinewsnow.com/story/17107200/honu-pics-p…

Malama Pono,

Janet

santa cruz
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1. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

Thank you for sharing the article. I can't believe that people will sit on the turtles for a photos op, but clueless people are everywhere. We've visited the beach in the article and it was amazing to see so many honu at one once. Thankfully everyone kept their distance from them while they were resting.

Kaua'i, HI
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2. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Interesting - they just featured this story on the 10:00 news from O'ahu and in the course of the story actually showed some pictures that a concerned resident had taken of some of the visitors (perfectly normal looking people, looked like people's Aunties...) straddling the turtles, posting with their hands on the turtles, etc. Pretty disturbing and I hope that those visitors were watching the news tonite and are ashamed of themselves.

Love that they have volunteers stationed there now with a barrier around the honu.

They also clarified that it is indeed illegal to do these acts and the people could face a very high fine indeed.

Interesting - I don't think we have as many honu here on Kaua'i coming up on the beaches - I've only seen it a very few times, but just like the monk seals - they need to be protected from overzealous people.

Malama Pono,

Janet

Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

I saw the story tonight as well. Appalling shot of that woman straddling over the honu!

Laniakea Beach is one of the best known for honu in the state, I would think (that was the site of the feature).

Janet, your honu there don't come up on the beaches so much? Interesting. There are numerous beaches here where we see them on land, pretty much a given they will be there.

There was that recent incident here where a turtle defender ended up clocking a tourist who was harassing a honu at Punalu'u, and grabbing his camera away. The tourist's girlfriend got a good photo of the "perp" but he is still at large! ;-)

I hope people here will watch this clip that Janet linked. It is short and makes it clear that people really care about this, while at the same time, these volunteers were quite understanding of the desire to get up close.

Honestly, I think the folks on the Big Island would not be so understanding of people giving back attitude and saying they don't care. Personally I have never said anything, but I sure have wanted to a few times. But ... confrontation is not pleasant. If I saw something really bad I would have to step up and intervene, but mostly it's just people getting closer than the guidelines say.

Saint Cloud...
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4. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

Nice story.

Most times I've been to Laniakea, the volunteers were there.

But a few times when the volunteers weren't there, it was just like the news story.

People would feed them.

People would touch them.

People would get close for photos.

And nothing we said to the people seemed to matter.

Edited: 08 March 2012, 12:54
Lakelady2451
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5. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

I'm never shocked at what people do.. some are ignorant and don't realize the harm they are causing and some just don't care. I don't mean to turn this thread into a "things stupid people do" issue.. but ignorance shows no boundaries... I live in Florida and awhile back the paper ran a story of a guy who thought it was would be a great photo to put his little girl on a live alligator while it was sunning itself on the banks of a lake. And he did. So go figure. Oh, and the gator cooperated and did not move so the kid wasn't hurt.

Lakelady2451
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6. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

And Janet, thank you for explaining the reason the turtles are there. I didn't realize they sleep on land. We have sea turtles who lay their eggs on our beaches but they don't hang out here. I'm surprised now since I've heard this is quite the ordeal for them. Also there are volunteers who walk the beach each am to mark and label any new nests. Heaven help the person who ever dares to cross the tape marking it.

Kauai, Hawaii
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7. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

It really is unfortunate......and yep, on the big island, we saw a lot of honu come at Kahalu'u beach, and they would rest on the rocky area off the hotel that we stayed ( Keahou Beah Resort). The tourists could not get to them.

However, next door is great snorkeling, and the beach is filled with tourists.

I witnessed the following, and I did say something, but in one case it made zero difference.

Snorkeling, I came across a honu enjoing his lunch under water. He was nibbling on the rocks. Must have been part parrot fish. I stopped dead, and put my hands behind my back and just floated there.

Up comes a snorkeling male tourist, he spied the turtle. I told him to leave the turtle alone and just watch. Not this dude, He swims down a bit and starts rubbing his nuckles across the back of the honu.

The honu starts to swim away, and now others have seen this donkey " pet" the honu, and they are all in a line persuing, fins slapping the water, chasing the fleeing honu.

Same place, different day, at the popular snorkel site there at Kahalu'u Beach, Again I was out snorkeling, and here is an entire tourist family going ballistic, shouting, fins spashing when the teenage 18 or so, boy stops to rest or see where everyone else is who knows.

I look underwater, and he his standing with his fins on upon a beautiful coral. I told him to " Get your fins off that coral, you are killing it ! " He looks at me in amazement, with no clue, and continues to stay put. I started swimming toward him, and then he swam off to joing the fin slapping and water flinging family.

And from this Irish / Viking, good for the big islander that popped the tourist when the BI dude was trying to defend the honu. And like most cowards, when this tourists gets a smack, they call the cops, and show them a photo of the defender. Good luck on that one.

Poipu Beach : This was when we were visitors, and had just finished snorkeling. A monk seal was laying out on the sand, taking a grand snooze.

The volunteers had put up the yellow tape, but were not there at this moment.

Visitors had gathered outside of the tape, and were taking photos, everyone of them was respectful. Then up comes a spiked red haired tourist 18/19 year old kid, and he walks under the tape, and is boldly striding to the monk seal.

I was a few yards away, and in a fairly commanding and lound voice, shouted at him " Get away from the monk seal, what is wrong with you ? "

He looked over my direction still purposefully making way toward the monk seal, and I started toward him. His insolent expression changed, and he made a 180, back under the tape,and mixed in with other beach goers.

BROWN WATER, Kalapaki Beach , Yesterday: Almost every visitor was on land, sitting in the sun, playing volley ball, or making sand castles, etc. or playing in the very nice swimming pool. They were staying out of the water.

One tourist is in the water with is two very small children, dunking them into that brown water and lifting them up. Dunk lift, dunk lift.

One big clue is the color of the water, the other clue is that no one else was in the ocean.

The rest of the visitors were using their brains, and stayed up on land, and were having a great time.

Maybe we all have to make a stand, and put a stop to some of the things that we see on a nearly daily basis when it comes to ocean life and the marine enviornment.

Denny

Edited: 08 March 2012, 15:37
Buford, Georgia
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8. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

No need to get close to the sealife! Most cameras have zoom lenses and most people know how to crop a picture when photo editing!

British Columbia...
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9. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

When we were there I was so impressed to see the Monk Seal area roped off. No one went near while I was there and I was so excited to tell everyone back at the condo hw respect everyone was to the seals space. We see it all the time here people getting out of their cars and trying to get close enough to get a real good picture of a black or grizzly bear.

Please everyone just look from a distance a leave the poor animals alone because or human interaction and feeding in our area we now have a deer cull going on in town and 100 deer are being killed. So to go on but it just is so unfair to the poor turtles, seals and other animals that people bother them.

santa cruz
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10. Re: Let sleeping honu lie - please!

I'm glad the other visitors happened to behave themselves when we were there. It's great that they have volunteers there now to keep an eye on things, I didn't see any volunteers when we visited.

We have many visitors that get too close to our wildlife too. People have actually taken baby harbor seals home because they thought they were abandoned but their mother's are just searching for food in the water. So sad.

Maybe a PSA type video can be made and played on screens at the airport or something explaining the laws regarding Hawaiian sea life and why they shouldn't be bothered. It could also cover information about not standing on the reef, not feeding the fish, etc.