WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Dept. of Land and Natural Resources is investigating following a report of a boat striking a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle in the water off Waikiki.
Ocean Safety officials say a group of surfers saw the turtle early Wednesday afternoon and tried to bring it back to shore. Before they reached the beach, the turtle broke free and swam away toward Ala Moana Beach.
A short time later, the wounded turtle was spotted again closer to Kaiser's Beach. DLNR was able to slowly lead it to land, where they could carefully tend to its injuries.
When veterinarians with NOAA arrived, they noted that the turtle was alive, but clearly injured – with a large slash in its shell and innards exposed. It was taken to a facility for care, but died in transport, a spokesperson for NOAA says.
Initial reports indicate the turtle was injured by a propeller strike from a boat.
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, or honu, are a threatened species, and disturbing them in any way is a violation of both state and federal law. Prosecution is rare, but violators can face fines that run into the thousands of dollars.
Federal wildlife agencies recently announced plans to study whether they should classify Hawaii's green sea turtles as a population distinct from other green sea turtles in the world. If they find the population is separate, the agencies will then consider whether the honu should be taken off the threatened species list.
Anyone who sees a dead or sick sea turtle is encouraged to report it by calling (808) 983-5730.