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Chelonia mydas


Artificial lights that are known to attract seabirds and cause fallout can potentially threaten the success of baby green sea turtles too. When juvenile sea turtles hatch from their nests on the beach, they may orient towards artificial light sources, mistaking it for moonlight, and move towards roads or other human infrastructure instead of towards the ocean as they should. Unlike seabird incidental take which is well documented on the island of Kaua‘i, and has triggered the need for this Habitat Conservation Plan, documented green sea turtle take has been very rare. Therefore, green turtles are included in the HCP due to the potential for future take, but it is not expected at this time that any take will be requested by applicants. Incidental take of turtles without a permit is illegal as this species is federally and state-wide listed as Threatened.

Photo by Mark Sullivan, NOAA.

The Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is one of seven sea turtles found world-wide. The life history of a Hawaiian green sea turtle begins with emergence from a nest (hole in the sand) where the turtle egg was laid, along with up approximately 100 other eggs. The majority of green turtles that inhabit the Hawaiian Islands lay their eggs in the French Frigate shoals, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. However, some turtles also choose to build nests on the beaches of Kauai, or other main Hawaiian Islands. The young turtles, if they survive early predation, will grow to 12-14 inches long over the first decade of life. At this time they begin to appear in the main Hawaiian Islands to feed. They do not first reproduce until the age of 25-40 years old! They will then lay eggs every 2-4 years throughout their adulthood, up to the age of 70-80 years old. These large, beautiful animals, weighing 200-400 lbs each as adults, are often seen on basking on beaches or feeding on seaweeds in calm near-shore waters throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

For more information on sea turtle biology, conservation status and life history, check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website​.

​That's great, but what about threats to covered species?