Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle or Honu
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles: An Endangered Species Worth Protecting
The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, also known as Honu in Hawaiian, is one of Hawaii’s most beloved and iconic animals. With their distinctive greenish-brown shells and gentle, curious nature, these turtles have captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. However, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is not just a charming tourist attraction – it is also an endangered species that requires our protection and conservation efforts.
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are found in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, including around the Hawaiian Islands. They are the largest species of hard-shelled sea turtle and can grow up to four feet in length and weigh up to 350 pounds. These turtles are herbivores and feed primarily on algae and sea grasses, which they graze on in shallow waters along the shore.
In addition to being important members of the marine ecosystem, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles also have cultural significance in Hawaiian mythology and traditions. In ancient times, Honu were believed to be spiritual guardians, and their shells were used for tools and decoration. Today, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are protected under state and federal laws, and it is illegal to harm, capture, or harass them. Growing up surfing, diving, and fishing here in Hawaii we get very familiar with them as we cohabitate the ocean. We have always strived to treat the Honu with the respect they deserve, giving them space to roam.
Despite these protections, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles still face a number of threats to their survival. Habitat destruction, pollution, and accidental capture in fishing gear are just a few of the challenges these turtles must overcome. Despite this, the population seems to be increasing, and it is rare for us to NOT see at least a few Honu on our morning adventures.