Federal officials will conduct research on a threatened green sea turtle that was found dead in some trash at a Waianae beach park.
Yellow caution tape was wrapped around the charcoal bin where the turtle was found surrounded by garbage and beer bottles Sunday at Maili Beach Park, Honolulu news station Hawaii News Now reported.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contracted University of Hawaii students to pick up the body so the agency can determine what killed the animal that is protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
“To the best of their ability, they go out and try to find the animal that has washed up or is stranded somewhere to provide assistance if it’s injured,” said Pat Opay with the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office.
It’s disrespectful for a creature that’s highly revered in Hawaiian culture to end up in the trash, said Kehau Watson-Sproat, owner of Native Hawaiian advocacy group Honua Consulting.
“It’s incredibly disheartening and even sickening to see an animal thrown away with the trash,” she said. The animals were particularly revered among those with chiefly status, she said.