Did you know there are only seven species of turtles in the world? Hawaii is lucky enough to be home to three of them: the Hawksbill, Leatherback, and the most common, the Green Turtle (also known as Honu). Turtles have played an important part in ancient Hawaiian culture and are revered as a symbol of good fortune and luck. Unfortunately green sea turtles are classified as endangered animals due to over-harvesting, climate change, and habitat loss.
Help Save the Turtles
To preserve our oceans and the amazing creatures in it, we came up with five ways you can help save the turtles:
- Reduce your use of garbage: It is estimated that every year 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans. Sea creatures, including turtles, mistake garbage and plastic as food which can harm them and even cause death. By limiting your use of plastic products, straws, one time use containers, etc. you can help improve the ocean and the turtles’ home and food supply. If you see trash on the beach, pick it up!
- Observe don’t disturb: Green sea turtles are protected by law, be sure to give them their space when viewing. Never disturb a nesting female and respect protected turtle areas.
- Lights out: Turtle hatchlings rely on light to navigate to the ocean after hatching and the turtles can get disoriented and confused from other lights. Turn your porch lights off, avoid flashlights, and refrain from bonfires during nesting season.
- Volunteer/Donate: Join a beach clean up or volunteer with an ocean conservation program! Beach clean ups occur throughout the year or you can organize your own clean up.There are also several organizations you can support to help protect turtles in Hawaii. Many are in need of volunteers, donations, and some offer animal adoptions:
- Malama na honu is a volunteer based non profit organization on the North Shore of Oahu that watches and protects turtles while educating tourists.
- Save the Sea Turtles International is another Oahu program that accepts donations and oranizes beach clean ups.
- Hawaii Marine Animal Response is Hawaii’s largest non profit marine conservation organization. They focus on the preservation and recovery of Hawaii’s marine species and provide volunteer programs, educational information, and adoption programs
- The Volcanoes National Park offers volunteer programs and tips for protecting turtles on the Big Island.
- In Maui, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund offers several volunteer programs including “voluntour” options for travelers and tourists.
- For facts and figures on the problem of worldwide plastic pollution, see this informative report from SLO Active.
- The World Wildlife Foundation is the world’s leading conservation organization. They have specific donation programs geared to help save turtles.
- Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and 808 Cleanups are both environmental organizations that regularly create beach cleanups.
At Dolphins and You we are proud to be certified by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association as a Certified Sustainable Tour. We are committed to protecting Hawaii’s unique, natural environment and the creatures that live in it by educating our guests on best practices for viewing wildlife. We are fortunate to see many turtles while snorkeling on our tour in addition to wild spinner dolphins, tropical fish, and other amazing sea life.
Join our Dolphins and You tour today!