DOCARE beefs up officer presence in North Shore to deter tourists from touching marine life

Laniakea tourists
Laniakea tourists(Department of Land and Natural Resources)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 6:19 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With videos circulating on social media of tourists touching endangered Hawaiian animals, the state is beefing up patrol officers in the North Shore to deter illegal encounters.

The state DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources said it will station more officers at Laniakea to protect endangered animals, especially green sea turtles that often roam in the area.

The Land Department said they are increasing officer presence as the popular turtle viewing spot has been inundated with tourists over the past few months.

“It’s more of a deterrent than a way to catch someone doing something illegal. Typically, if there’s a uniformed officer standing on the beach, people are not going to break the law in front of them,” said Jason Redulla, DOCARE enforcement chief.

A group of volunteers with Malama Na Honu are also watching over the turtles and educating visitors about proper behavior.

“I do think that we do make a difference, having that inner contact from the get-go before they ever get into the water. And I think that if people know that we’re here, they seek us out,” said Debbie Herrera, a volunteer and education coordinator for Malama na Honu.

The state reminded the public that green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and other marine animals are protected by a variety of federal and state laws. Gov. David Ige declared violators will be fully prosecuted by the law.

Anyone who witnesses someone getting too close to honu or other endangered Hawaiian animals is asked to call the 24-hour DLNR hotline at 643-DLNR.

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