Bringing attention to ‘honu harassment,’ dozens rallied in Laniakea

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Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 5:37 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 8, 2021 at 5:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of North Shore residents and community activists turned out for a rally at Laniakea Beach Sunday, protesting tourists harassment of honu.

“It’s really gotten bad, and just yesterday there two or three hundred people all across the street on the beach, just touching the turtles,” said Mahina Chillingworth of Da Hui.

Protestors said social media posting of tourists harassing the threatened turtles are a symptom of a wider problem of overtourism.

“Statewide, communities are feeling the harsh impacts of tourism, being overwhelmed by tour buses, tours, people loading and unloading, clogging up the highways,” said Blake McElheny, a longtime Pupukea resident.

Although the state has vowed to get tough on any visitor who harasses threatened species, critics said they’re not doing enough.

“They’ve called DLNR, they’ve taken pictures, they’ve called the police and we have see no action,” said Healani Sonoda-Pale of Ka Lahui Hawaii.

DLNR said last month that it has stepped up its patrols of the beach. Department officials were immediately available for comment today.

McElheny said if the city bans tour buses at Laniakea, the harassment will decrease.

Other said tourism and government officials should do a better job of educating visitors about the harms of harassing threatened species.

“One tourist from California said there’s a little video on the airplanes but it’s like a cartoon and nothing related to about what’s going on,” said Chillingworth of Da Hui.

As part of that, demonstrators handed out flyers to tourists, encouraging them to sign a pledge to help care for Hawaii’s fragile ecosystem.

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