Hawai’i Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project Helps Hatchlings
On the island of Hawai’i the Hawai’i Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project has had a successful 22nd season of protecting sea turtle nesting sites along certain areas of the Big Island. From the first evidence of Hawksbill nesting in May of 2011 until the last hatchlings made it to the waters off ‘Apua Point on December 23rd, 20 diehard volunteers were there to ensure the turtles were safe. There were a total of nine female hawksbills that were observed, and according to a release by the Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project five of those turtles were newly tagged, while the other four were returnees. The newly tagged turtles bring the total number of adult female hawksbills tagged on Hawai’I Island to 110. Another exciting development that came out of the project this year is that a female green sea turtle was observed nesting on the Big Island for the first time. The honu (Hawaiian for green sea turtle) was first tagged at Halape, ended up choosing Pohue to nest, which is 52 coastal miles away from where it was tagged. The nest had an 80% hatch rate and 40 babies making it safely to the water. The project and volunteers put in a lot of work, and it was well worth it. The project volunteers monitored the nesting turtles, their nests, and the baby turtles once they hatched, making sure that once the babies hatched they made it to the water’s edge safely. The volunteers counted approximately 3,000 baby turtles that made it safely to the water from 30 different nests located along the coastline of the Big Island.