Honolulu — Scientists are asking the public for help tracking green sea turtles as they return to Hawaiian islands after their nesting season.
Green sea turtles
The sightings will help them identify where the marine mammals hang out and forage, said T. Todd Jones, a lead scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told reporters on 15 September 2017.
Administration workers have tagged 500 green sea turtles. People can identify the turtles known to frequent Big Island, Maui and Kauai because numbers have been written on their shells with nontoxic white spray paint that will fade in months.
"The interesting thing now is with these identifiers is if the turtles are reported, we're going to make these connections to viable nesting females in the population," Jones said.
Turtles are said to be friendly creatures in Hawaii, swimming along visitors.
Getting the public involved
The researchers can also track a few sea turtles with a handful of satellite tags, but officials said the high-tech tracking equipment is expensive. By having the public help track the sea turtles, researchers can save money and help educate the public on conservation efforts.
The information will help officials better protect important habitats for the sea turtles and is especially important for the nesting females, said Irene Kelly, the administration's sea turtle recovery coordinator.
People are being asked to stay at least 3 meters away from the turtles.
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