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Saving hawksbill turtles, one plant at a time

April 17, 2014

How do you help endangered hawksbill turtles survive? One plant at a time! Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park natural resources management staff recently planted 746 naupaka kahaki (Scaevola taccada,), an indigenous coastal shrub, near the remote lagoon beach at Halapē.

working at Halapē

Park staff David Benitez (front), Paul Keli‘ihoomalu, and Fred Aiona (back) are seen removing non-native haole koa at Halapē. Following haole koa removal, this area was planted with the native shrub coastal naupaka (Scaevola taccada).NPS Photo/Mark Wasser.

The planting serves a dual purpose: it establishes a barrier to prevent further expansion of non-native, invasive koa haole from encroaching further along the shoreline, and it improves the habitat quality for nesting hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) by stabilizing the sand.

naupaka & hawksbill hatchlings

Hawksbill turtle hatchlings head towards the ocean. NPS Photo.

Hawksbill turtles, called honu ‘ea in Hawaiian, are a federally endangered sea turtle that nest primarily on the eastern beaches of Hawai‘i Island. Two of their primary nesting areas are located within the park.

Apua hawksbill

A female hawksbill turtle at ‘Āpua Point, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo.

Naupaka planting

Mark Wasser planting naupaka kahakai at Halapē. NPS Photo/David Benitez.

This post was authored by Mark Wasser,  who works in the Restoration Ecology Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, part of the Natural Resource Management division. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Judy Edwards permalink
    April 17, 2014 9:38 am

    Yay for the project, yay for the blog post, and do you have the hi-res version of those tiny scamperers?

    Judy Edwards Interpretive Media Assistant Hawaii Pacific Parks Association P.O. Box 74 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718 808-985-6333 (fax)808-985-7333 Facebook: Twitter: @HIPacParks


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