UPDATE May 23, 2019: I just found out that today, and every May 23rd, is WORLD TURTLE DAY – so I am celebrating it by re-sharing this post. Enjoy and keep the Turtles safe.
Do you know what the differences are between a Hawaiian Hawksbill Turtle and the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle? Do you know that Honu is actually the Hawaiian name for the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle is called Honu‘ea (or simply Ea)? I used to call all turtles on Hawaii Honu and I think many Maui visitors do the same. Now we know that they have different Hawaiian names.
I was about to write a blog post about respecting Hawaiian cultures, but I thought I would focus on respecting the Honu on this post first. Respecting Hawaiian culture to follow.
The other day I shared a video of Hawksbill Hatchings going to the sea. It is a video shared by Wendee. It had gotten a lot of attention for obvious reasons. (Incidentally, Wendee wrote a guest post last year about Hawksbill Hatchlings too, with great photos). Here’s the video I shared earlier in case you missed seeing it:
When I shared this video on our Facebook Group Visit Live Love Maui, it sparked a discussion about “tourists getting so close to the turtles”. I had the monitor the discussion because it could escalate into a heated discussion (thankfully it didn’t). The point is everyone (tourists and locals) should respect the Honu and Honu‘ea by giving them space…. I mean plenty of space! Do not go next to them just to take selfie photos! You can take your selfie with them in the background with enough space. How much space? The law does not specify but keep your distance.
My mission is to educate the tourists who are not aware they shouldn’t come near the Honu and Honu‘ea and definitely not touch them. And for those who are already aware, this is a reminder. Again, respect the Honu and Honu‘ea by giving them space – keep a good distance away from them.
“When you are observing an animal from a distance and they lift their head, they look a little agitated, they start to change how they are acting, moving in anyway, then you have most likely disturbed that animal and you want to back away”
Now back to the question “Do you know what the differences are between a Hawaiian Hawksbill Turtle and the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle?” Below is a good illustration from Hawksbill.org website. If you would like to learn more about it, go to www.hawksbill.org
Another great non-profit organization helping take care of the Honu is MALAMA HONU. Go to www.malamahonu.com to find out more about them.
Mahalo for reading and thank you for spreading the word about respecting the Honu and Ea and being Pono, A Hui Hou!
This is so educational! Thank you for sharing so much great information about these beautiful creatures.
Great post, Liza! Here’s my post about where to see those turtles on Maui:
Oh my goodness! Thank you for this very informative post Liza!! I am a lover of Hawaii but never knew about the different species of turtles. I’ll be on Maui in a few weeks and now have this new knowledge 🙂
Awesome post! Did not know this!