Updated: October 3, 2022
The Maui Ocean Center celebrated the birthday of six Hawaiian green sea turtles, which have been serving as ambassadors at the facility for the past two years.
Kuʻuipo (Turtle 1), Kilakila (Turtle 2), Nohea (Turtle 3), Hohonu (Turtle 4), Makaʻala (Turtle 5) and Auliʻi (Turtle 6) are part of an ongoing outreach program that started in the 1970’s.
The turtles were born at Sea Life Park on Oʻahu with most of their fellow hatchlings, released to the wild. Under the program, a few become ambassadors of their species on Maui at the Maui Ocean Center.
All sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and only through a special permit is the facility allowed to care for and handle them.
The sea turtle ambassadors are weighed and measured weekly to monitor growth and ensure overall health, and after a few years under MOC care, they are introduced to the ocean to continue their lives in their natural habitat.
“We continue to learn from our turtle ambassadors after their release. Satellite transmitters, like the one fitted to Nakine, a previous turtle ambassador, continue to shed light on the movements of young turtles around the Hawaiian Islands,” according to the Maui Ocean Center.