Beachgoers were concerned when they saw feces lining the beach at Laenani Neighborhood Park on Monday morning. Health officials suspect the source was green sea turtles.
Approximately 60 droppings washed onto the beach, while other pieces floated in the shore break.
Turtle droppings aren’t a health threat, said Stefanie Weaver, an environmental engineer at the Department of Health.
While a large amount of turtle poop washing up on the beach isn’t common, it’s also not unheard of, Weaver said.
Apparent turtle droppings on the beach at Laenani Neighborhood Park.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
She said the DOH occasionally gets calls from people who mistake turtle droppings for dog feces.
The feces are hard to break apart because of green sea turtles’ plant-based diets, she said. A large amount of turtle feces could mean that there’s a large group of turtles close to shore, she said.
There have also been sightings of turtle droppings on neighbor islands.
Despite an overall declining trend globally, green sea turtle populations in Hawaii have actually increased more than 50 percent in the last 25 years. Also known as the honu, Hawaiian green sea turtles are listed as an endangered species, and can weigh up to 400 pounds, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
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