Some Examples of Recent Escalations & Rescues

Sea Turtles:  While green sea turtles spend most of their time around rocks and reefs deftly avoiding running into these structures, every once in a while, one gets stuck. Recently, HMAR responded to a report of a large 3-foot-long turtle lodged in the reef on the north shore of Oahu. Most of the time the turtles are not stuck – they are just basking or foraging – however after our hotline operator gathered all the necessary information from the caller, it became obvious from the photos that the animal was lodged in a crevasse and unable to free itself. When our rescue responder arrived on the scene, we were able to dislodge the animal from the spot but a wave pushed it right back in. In order for us to free the animal, we would have to completely remove it from the reef and move the animal away from the crevasse. Luckily for us, a wave helped us free the animal! We got it out and moved it about 5 feet away from where it was so it could safely re-enter the water. Many thanks to our HMAR rescue responder who was able to help this turtle!

Hawaiian Monk Seals:  One of the problematic threats for Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles and seabirds is entanglement in fishing gear such as fishing line, hooks, and nets (Boland and Donahue, 2003). One of the Hawaiian monk seals we see regularly on Oahu had such an encounter earlier this year. A sub-adult female seal named RH48 “Lei Ola” showed up hooked on the west side of Oahu. She had a superficial hook but was dragging some fishing line behind her. Our partners at NOAA were concerned about the fishing line as this could present an entanglement hazard, so NOAA attempted an intervention to trim the line but this was unsuccessful. HMAR then started escalated surveys for this animal along many miles of shoreline for many hours each day. This continued for several days and twice again an intervention was attempted but was unsuccessful. We continued our daily surveys and many days later we were happy to find this animal without a hook. At some point during the days we were looking for the animal, she had thrown the hook on her own. HMAR is regularly engaged in escalations regarding Hawaiian monk seals. It’s part of the important work we do to help this and other vulnerable species.

These two stories are just examples of the many interventions, escalations, rescues and stranding responses we are involved in regularly.  During 2019, we performed 310 of these operations to help sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and seabirds.  With your help, we can continue this important work. Please donate or choose other ways to help by clicking HERE.

Mahalo for your support!