KEKAHA — Officials don’t think there’s a connection between the two green sea turtle killings that happened in Hawaii in May, and they’re still looking for those involved.
Wednesday, 32-year-old Bronson Nakaahiki of Kekaha was arrested for allegedly slicing a green sea turtle’s throat and harvesting its meat on Kekaha Beach.
The first was butchered at Onekahakaha County Beach Park in South Hilo on May 5.
“No apparent connection between yesterday’s incident there on Kauai and the one last weekend on the Big Island,” said Dan Dennison, spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources on Thursday.
He said the Kekaha turtle was reported by Kauai Police Department to the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at about 2:40 p.m. Wednesday.
“Witnesses reported seeing (Nakaahiki) allegedly slice a threatened green sea turtle’s throat and then harvest meat from it on Kekaha Beach,” DLNR officials said.
Nakaahiki was arrested and charged with take of an endangered species, which carries with it a fine of not less than $250 or imprisonment for a first offense.
Killing, harming or harassing green sea turtles, which are listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, is against both federal and state laws.
State Sheriffs transported Nakaahiki into custody and he was released pending a court appearance.
The turtle, found on Hawaii Island’s Onekahakaha County Beach Park on May 5, was discovered by a couple that reported the incident at 11 a.m. on that day after finding the turtle floating belly-up in a cove.
Its front flippers were amputated.
“It is clearly illegal and there are no provisions for cultural take of endangered or threatened animals like (green sea) turtles,” Dennison said.
During their investigation, DLNR said the “turtle’s front two flippers were amputated and it appeared the suspect(s) was interrupted and left the scene without the turtle.”
Anyone with information on these or any other illegal activities involving turtles or other endangered and threatened animals is asked to immediately call the DOCARE statewide hotline at 643-DLNR or report it anonymously via the free DLNRTip app on their smartphone.
Jessica Else, environmental reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.