First monk seals, now sea turtles? What gives?

Our landblog reports:

The Humane Society is offering up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person or people responsible for killing endangered gree sea turtles on Maui. 

In early September, marine officials discovered a turtle shell and gear believed to be used to drown the turtle, according to Ingrid Gibson, Hawaii state director for the U.S. Humane Society. She said that there have been other reports of turtle killings. 

From the Humane Society: 

In May, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service reminded the community that sea turtles remain protected under state and federal laws. Under state law, sea turtles are protected by the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (Chapter 195D) and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (13-124). DLNR Chairman William Aila also clarified that even though a petition for de-listing was filed, filing alone does not affect nor negate the protected status of these animals. He further urged the public to act responsibly and not attempt to touch, disturb, feed, pursue, ride, harass, harm or otherwise injure these animals.

“The Maui Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement continues to work with its federal partner agencies in investigating the killing of these sea turtles. We are asking for the public’s assistance in providing information to enable us take law enforcement action against the perpetrators of these crimes,” said Clarence Yamamoto, Maui DOCARE Branch Chief.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa stated, “We have rules protecting our endangered species in Maui County. This kind of blatant disregard for both state and federal law is inexcusable and cruel. These are serious crimes.”

Anyone with information on the illegal killing of sea turtles is asked to call the HSUS/DLNR reward tipline at 1-855-DLNR-TIP or the USFWS Enforcement hotline at 1-808-861-8525. Stranded and entangled sea turtles should be reported immediately to NOAA at 808-983-5730.          

For more information on The HSUS/DLNR reward tipline visit humanesociety.org/hawaii_rewards.

(Photos: Anita Wintner)