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Georgia Man Cited After Lifting Sea Turtle Out of Water in Maui

August 24, 2021, 3:00 PM HST
* Updated August 24, 2:42 PM
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A Georgia man was cited after he lifted a sea turtle out of the water by its shell while visiting Maui earlier this month.

According to DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE), witnesses reported the incident on Aug. 17 via the DLNRTip app and provided photos and video of the 60-year-oldʻs encounter with the honu while in shallow water at Ka‘anapali with his son.

“The pair told officers a turtle swam toward them,” DLNR officials stated. “The father picked it up briefly and when people yelled at him, he put it back in the water.”

The man said he was “very sorry” for his handling of the animal. He told DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) officers he didn’t know his actions were against the law.

The man was cited under Hawai‘i Administrative Rules for prohibited activities. The case was also referred to federal authorities as turtles are protected under both federal and state laws.

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“DLNR, county and federal partners, the private sector and volunteer organizations continue to use all available outreach methods and platforms to try and reach every visitor to Hawai‘i,” said DOCARE Enforcement Chief Jason Redulla. “Unfortunately, we can’t reach every single person who encounters a turtle or other marine wildlife and hope that people will use their common sense and show respect to these creatures. Ignorance of the law has never been a good defense,” he added.

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Anyone who witnesses wildlife harassment is encouraged to call the 24-hour DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR (3-5-6-7) or report suspected violations via the free DLNRTip app.

Photos and videos, as were provided in this case, are helpful to investigators.

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