Mauna Lani Auberge Hotel- Turtle Measurement and Assessment Trip


On Wednesday, August 24th, Laura Jim took her Capstone students to help Pi’I Laeha and Ethan Sousa to measure, weight and tag 6 captive green turtles during their monthly assessment.  These turtles are captive reared turtles from the Oceanarium “sea life park” on Oahu.  4-6 month old turtles are sent to the Mauna Lani Auberge Resort and they are raised at the hotel for 2 to three years before they are release into the wild during “TURTLE INDEPENDENCE DAY” on July 4th of each year. This is an environmental education program that has been running for over 30 years.

In order to maintain separation from guests and outside folks, we worked with the turtles in a restricted area. The team of 7 students, Ms. Jim and Marc Rice were briefed on the history of the Malama Honu program at the Mauna Lani Auberge Resort and then Laura and Marc talked a little about sea turtle  and other aspects of sea turtle biology.

Students were shown  how to handle and work with sea turtles in order to keep them safe from harm and minimize their stress levels. Students assisted in weighing the turtles, controlling the turtles on the work table, taking standard measurments and observations of external features.  All data was recorded by the students for entry into the NOAA/NMFS cumulative database.

PIT tags (passive integrated transponder tags) were place in the hind flippers of two of the turtles and photographs of the head scale patters (left and right) were taken of each turtle for archiving.

Once all measurements and observations were recorded, each turtle was marked with a white dot on specific scales for easy identification from a distance. After the dot was dry, the turtles were transported in carriers back to their pond where they live.

Once all six turtles had been returned to their pond, we gathered up our equipment, thanked Pi’i and Ethan for allowing us to assist them and headed back to HPA.

Below is a short video of our work at Mauna Lani.

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