> Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project
> HWF Honu Watch Project
> Hawai'i Island Marine Debris Removal
> Maui Marine Debris Removal Project
> Waiohinu – Ka`u Forest Reserve Protection
Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project
HWF has been conducting research and monitoring the nesting activities of hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) since 1996.
There are fewer than 100 adult female hawksbills known to nest in all of Hawai‘i. The species is listed as endangered in Hawai‘i and worldwide
and needs our protection. Through conservation efforts, public awareness, beachfront lighting reductions, fence repairs, dune restoration,
beach cleanups, radio and satellite telemetry, coordination of a Turtle Watch program,
and determining in-water distribution and abundance, HWF is helping to
save hawksbills and their nesting habitats.
> VOLUNTEER WITH HWF
HWF Honu Watch Project
Through its Honu Watch program, Hawaii Wildlife Fund protects basking
green sea turtles
(honu) by educating the community about
the phenomenon called "basking," a rare behavior in which turtles crawl ashore
for reasons other than nesting. No other species of sea turtles are
known to bask and the behavior
has been documented
only in Hawai'i and Australia.
Basking turtles are common in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands but
are seen on a more limited basis around the main Hawaiian Islands,
which is where HWF's Honu Watchers help protect the turtles.
are especially vulnerable while basking on shore. Possible reasons
for the behavior are that basking allows turtles to rest, raise their body temperature and/or to avoid predators (sharks).
There may be other health-related benefits that are currently not understood, possibly linked to
fibropapillomatosis, so it's important that the basking
turtles are never disturbed.
Show turtles aloha. Please report baskers by calling 808-643-3567 so that their health can be assessed,
and do not approach closer than 15 feet (5 meters).
Flash photography disturbs them, so please take pictures without flash. Dogs can injure turtles, so please keep them leashed.
> JOIN OUR TURTLE TEAM
> HWF TURTLE BROCHURE (PDF)
> NOAA TURTLE SIGN (JPG)
> HWF BASKING HONU SIGN (JPG)
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Hawai'i Island Marine Debris Removal Project
The mega-gyre of floating plastic estimated to be larger than the state of Texas is pouring a steady stream of marine debris on certain beaches of Hawai’i.
At South Point (Ka Lae) of Hawai’i Island (Big Island), HWF has cleaned more than 100 tons of marine debris from these
remote beaches during the last four years.
This coastline is visited by endangered Hawaiian monk seals, humpback
whales, and nested on by the endangered hawksbill turtle.
the first community shoreline cleanups here in 2003 and the effort has been continuous since.
Over the past year, HWF has helped to remove more than 12 tons of marine debris from this nine-mile stretch of coastline.
The big problem is that the debris keeps coming ashore at a rate
we’ve estimated to be 15-20 tons per year.
Most of the large bundles
of net, many weighing well over 1,000 pounds, are removed with
special equipment we’ve built, and HWF works with Matson to ship the
net and line to Honolulu where it is used to generate electricity in
a trash-to-energy conversion plant (H-Power). HWF takes all of the
other trash, including the 2,000+ bags of small plastic items
collected to date, to the county for burial in a landfill.
Volunteers are a critical part of this shoreline effort and
they’ve come from all over – the island, the state, the
world – to participate.
To get involved in HWF's marine debris program, please contact
Megan Lamson (808) 769-7629,
> MARINE DEBRIS
> 10 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP (PDF)
> WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE MARINE DEBRIS IN HAWAII (PDF)
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Maui Marine Debris Removal Project
Waiehu's Ka'ehu Beach on the northwest coastline of Maui is one of
the few nesting beaches for green turtles. It also happens to be one
of the major marine debris collections zones of Maui.
adopted this beach in 2012 in collaboration with the community and
NOAA's tsunami monitoring program.
HWF hosted marine debris clean ups and research on this beach
every month through September, 2015, as debris keeps washing ashore,
including debris from the 2011 tsunami from Japan.
> VIEW CLEAN UP PHOTOS
> WATCH KA'EHU CLEAN UP VIDEO
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Waiohinu – Ka`u Forest Reserve Protection
The natural and cultural resources of a coastal strand along the
southeast Hawaii Island came to the attention of Hawaii Wildlife Fund
in 2001 with the birth of a monk seal pup on the beach.
At that time, this very large tract of land in the forest reserve
of Ka'u was being leased for cattle grazing. Coastal access was extremely difficult over
five miles of soft volcanic ash and very treacherous lava fields. The 1,300
coastal acres included over
three dozen species of
native Hawaiiian plants (one endangered),
fields of Hawaiian petroglyphs, and four anchialine ponds (nearshore pools fed underground by both fresh and sea water - unique in the US to Hawai'i).
HWF initiated action to protect this resource-rich site by working with state agencies to facilitate a transfer of the coastal strand from grazing lease to “forest reserve” status, an action that was approved by the Hawai'i Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2005.
HWF paid for the boundary survey and other costs of formal
subdivision to complete the transfer.
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