NOAA stresses importance of reporting after mutilated sea turtle discovered

Local News

A group of surfers made a gruesome discovery at Tracks Beach in Nanakuli.

Last Thursday, they stumbled across a mutilated green sea turtle.

“I go, what is that lump on the beach? It looks like a rock. I said, wait a minute, that’s not a rock. Turtles don’t look like turtles without the shell, when they’re all beat up,” said Richard Campbell.

After the initial shock wore down, Eric Nakahuma snapped photos of the turtle.

“They took the shell off. It was all jagged, left it here to die. It was dead. It was laying here with external organs exposed,” Nakahuma said. A rope was tied around its fin.

“They shouldn’t do things like that to this species,” said Gilbert Jololino, “especially (since) it’s getting extinct. It’s a baby also. It’s sad.”

They buried the turtle in the sand, saying they wanted to give the animal the respect it deserved.

While they meant well, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says calling the agency first is the right step.

According to Shandell Brunson, NOAA’s sea turtle stranding coordinator, “We do find that some people take it upon themselves to bury the turtles, but we do prefer they give us a call, even if they want to do it anonymously, and it helps with our research as well.”

Green sea turtles, dead or alive, are legally protected. NOAA says it gets about 300 calls a year statewide on the endangered animal.

Provide the exact location, the animal’s size and whether it appears dead or alive.

Reporting to NOAA will help determine how the turtle died. “If remnants were found, we could still look at them,” Brunson said.

If you spot a stranded Hawaiian sea turtle, call NOAA:

  • Oahu: 725-5730
  • Maui
    • Kihei: 286-2549
    • Other areas: 286-2899
  • Hawaii Island
    • Hilo: 286-4359
    • Kohala-Kona: 881-4200
    • Kona: 327-6226
  • Molokai: 533-5190
  • Sea turtle/conservation law enforcement issues: 800-853-1964

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