A new FP bibliography, plus the latest Masha Kai tracking map (November 8, 2009)

November 8th, 2009  

The latest Fibropapilloma Bibliography

It’s been a while since we last posted a Fibropapilloma Bibliography. I have mixed feelings about this.

We put Turtle Trax online for two reasons. One was to celebrate the beauty and wonder of sea turtles, but especially the Hawaiian green turtle, or honu. The second was to raise awareness of their struggle with the debilitating and often deadly tumor disease, fibropapillomatosis, or FP.

When we started in 1995, FP looked like it could well be the end of the line for green turtles, and not just in Hawaii but throughout the world. No one knew the origins of the disease, or how it spread, or indeed how it could erupt into a pandemic simultaneously in discrete locations. For example, to this day nobody can explain how FP became an epidemic in Hawaii and Florida at the same time, since there is literally no contact between these two turtle populations.

Faced with the possibility of losing the green turtle, government agencies and conservation groups all over the world started looking into the problem. Quite a lot of research was conducted. Once the results began to become available, the need for an FP bibliography was obvious. In those days, there were frequent additions and updates. Then the Good News arrived: FP was not always terminal, and many turtles recovered on their own. FP research activity subsequently slowed. It’s never stopped, but once the threat of extinction was removed, so was the urgency to understand FP, hence the (much) longer intervals between bibliography postings—and my ambivalence.

Obviously I am happy that FP is not an extinction threat. In fact, at Honokowai now you would be hard pressed to identify a honu with FP. 15 years ago, it was easy. All you had to do was find a turtle—they all had FP. Not any more.

Kimo (U 362) in 1993


Kimo (U 362) at The Rock in 1993. At the time, Kimo had one of the worst cases of FP we had seen.


Click image to enlarge


Kimo in 2004


11 years later, Kimo’s tumors had disappeared with almost no trace. She is the poster honu for FP recovery.


Click image to enlarge


On the other hand, FP is still out there. Sure the Honokowai ohana has recovered and the disease has moved on—but not that far. Just a few kilometers up the coast, around Napili, FP is still common. Honu are still suffering and dying from its effects. Yes, FP will pass from this ohana too, but not before a lot of turtles have been affected. This is why it saddens me that I don’t have to post the FP bibliography as often as we once did. It reflects the fact that there simply isn’t as much research happening as there once was. The shift away from FP research is justifiable and understandable, but I still am pained whenever I see a turtle with tumors.

All of which is a long introduction to the latest FP bibliography. We present two formats: the Murakawa-Balazs bibliography in traditional format, organized by author (also offered as a PDF version for download), and our own version, organized by source. The latter arose from our own research efforts, and is meant to minimize the effort needed to fetch material from library shelves.

As always, we claim full responsibility for errors, and would appreciate it if you would tell us if you discover any.

Masha Kai, as of October 27, 2009

Tracking map for Masha Kai as of Oct 27 09

Tracking map for Masha Kai as of Oct 27 09

Masha Kai still remains close to the Nohonani, as expected. Most of the data points are clustered together close to where she was released. There are two exceptions, one to the north and one to the south. What they mean, if anything, is anyone’s guess. As we move into winter (yes, there is a winter in Hawaii) we might see some change in her behaviour. The really interesting questions are: will she make a nesting migration in the spring, and if so, where? Watch this space.

Meanwhile, if you are staying at any of the West Maui condos between Honokowai Park and Pohaku Park (S-Turns), remember that you have a chance of spotting Masha Kai. She’s easily recognized by the transmitter and antenna mounted at the top of her shell. If you see her, we’d love to know about it.

Background of tracking Masha Kai

Masha Kai is a female honu who was captured, given a satellite tag, and released at Honokowai, West Maui, on August 21, 2009. The video below is re-posted to provide you with some background information. If you want more on this story, read my last post from Maui for 2009.

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Comments

74 Responses to “A new FP bibliography, plus the latest Masha Kai tracking map (November 8, 2009)”

  1. Julius Kriwat on November 11th, 2009 9:27 pm

    Hi i think your website is good

  2. Madeleine on November 15th, 2009 11:27 am

    Hi,
    I just came across your website. Could you tell me anything about sponsoring sea turtle? I live in Australia and I also scuba dive recreationally. I would really like to help.

  3. Peter on November 16th, 2009 4:15 am

    Hi Madeleine,

    Turtle Trax doesn’t have such a program, it’s just a web site run by me and my wife in our spare time. People often get the impression that we’re a research organization or similar, but we’re not.

    One real organization that does offer an adopt-a-turtle program is the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. It was the first sea turtle conservation group and it’s still one of the most respected. Visit:

    http://www.cccturtle.org/adoptaturtle.php

    Thanks for caring about the turtles. They need all the friends they can get.

  4. Charles Fasano on November 20th, 2009 3:59 pm

    Aloha:
    Keep up the good work. Site looks great.

    Can you direct me to where I can find actual population numbers for the Hawaii islands? I’m hoping to find as far back as I can the yearly pop. change.

    Any leads will be most helpful.

    Mahalo Nui Loa:
    -Charlie-

  5. MJ on November 22nd, 2009 2:50 pm

    Hola,

    I love all kinds of turtles and I think you should update Turtle Trax every now and then; I love reading the comics, Howitz is just hilarious!

    Thanks =)

  6. Jerry on November 25th, 2009 5:48 am

    I think that your website is very good.

  7. Peter on November 27th, 2009 7:23 am

    Can you direct me to where I can find actual population numbers for the Hawaii islands?

    I don’t think such numbers exist, since there is no way to conduct a reliable census. Even estimates are hard to come by. The most reliable data comes from the annual monitoring of the East Island nesting are in the French Frigate Shoals. Even that data comes with several caveats.

    For example, they do not monitor for the entire nesting season, although they cover the heaviest nesting period. There is therefore an unknown (but probably not high) number of nesters each season.

    Next, females nest every second year at best, and often go three or even four years between migrations. Because their cycles are often irregular, the actual number of nesting females in the population is hard to determine.

    No one knows the ratio of nesting females to the population in general, but we do know the population has increased substantially in recent years. Since honu take 20 years or more to reach nesting age, we can expect the nesting count to continue to rise for some time.

    The best source for any information about Hawaiian green turtles is George Balazs, who is in charge of Marine Turtle Research in the Central Pacific for the National Marine Fisheries Service. If there are any numbers available, he will have them.

  8. Peter on November 27th, 2009 7:28 am

    Thanks for the comments, MJ. I agree, we should update the site more often. Even more so, we should update all those pages that were written back in the 90s for dial-up connections. The sad truth is we don’t have the time to put into that right now. I’ve started projects a few times only to have them sidelined by, well, the rest of life. It’s just me and my wife, so if we can’t get around to it it doesn’t get done.

    I would dearly love to see Howzit return; we rather abruptly stranded him the last time. Again, pressures on my wife’s time prevent her from creating more Howzit cartoons. She misses Howzit as much as we do, though.

  9. mirian on December 2nd, 2009 5:35 pm

    Hi my name is Miriam andi love turtles a lot .I have two of them as weive wjeee it is hot they have to bein cold water and that is cool of that person that lives in Australia and I would like to know if it fet rwallt

  10. mirinda on December 10th, 2009 11:53 pm

    I’m glad that there is such site. I love turtles. Here is the story of Jenifer – the chess turtle
    http://turtleofthechess.com/vote/

  11. kenly on December 11th, 2009 8:07 pm

    o i have tow turtels and thay named kendow and lucy and kendow is so bad he bites and every thing but lucy is so nice and that is what i need to say bi bye.

  12. nunez01 on December 17th, 2009 11:13 am

    i think its nice that you guys are helping the sea turtles thanks every one apprecats it

  13. Anonymous on January 8th, 2010 9:03 pm

    Just love the colours of the page, they go exactly with the ideas

  14. sharon on January 12th, 2010 8:45 am

    Havent been to this site in a while. Love what you guys do. thanks so much for caring like you do.
    We have 91 turtles and tortoises fo various kinds, but love the sea turtles best.
    we have done eary morning turtle watch in the past and hope to join again soon.
    keep up the kind work!!!
    sharon and gary

  15. colinwhocares on January 18th, 2010 12:16 pm
  16. Leah on January 26th, 2010 7:53 am

    Hey, this is Leah from Germany,

    Your work for Sea Turtles is great!

    Later I would like to study marine biology and then help sea turtles too.

    I already have read soo many books (including yours) about sea turtles. And I already love them.

    I hope there is a chance for me to help sea turtles too.

    Many greetings from Germany.

    Leah (15).

  17. Anonymous on February 2nd, 2010 12:24 am

    i love your viedio

  18. matua on February 4th, 2010 8:20 am

    well hello
    im a new person an i want to learn more about the turtles and just post me a comment in the above email address and thank you

    mahalo lui noa

  19. Emily on February 5th, 2010 9:14 am

    So, I’m pretty positive I love this site. I, also, have tow turtles named Kendow and Lucy. I was so ecstatic when I was just messing around when I typed in ‘turtles.org’ and there was actually a site! I wish my turtles wouldn’t bite though… Sometimes I bleed.

  20. Saphyre on February 10th, 2010 1:37 pm

    I love this site!! And I love the vidieo!

  21. melissa zanartu on February 17th, 2010 4:28 am

    Hello,

    Im writing a paper for university on sea turtle communication, and can’t seem to find much info on that at all, either on the internet or libraries!

    Would you mind guiding me to the right place? or do you guys have any info on your studies that involves their communication methods and behaviour?

    Thanks so much…

  22. Peter on February 19th, 2010 5:26 am

    There is a doctoral dissertation by Diane Comuzzie, titled “Behavior and communication of sea turtles” (Texas A & M University, College Station; 1987, 114 pp.). I have not read this paper, but I would like to. The references I’ve seen to it often append the word “chemical” in parentheses, but I have no idea what this means.

    The only other published descriptions that I am aware of are included in our book. We haven’t done a scientific study of turtle communication, we simply describe our observations over 20 summers of diving with Hawaiian green turtles. We believe there is a limited communication that occurs with gestures and certain behaviours.

    For example, probably the most obvious communication we see is a behaviour we call the “flipper swipe”. The turtle raises a flipper and brushes it down the cheek in a brisk motion, sometimes accompanied by head movements. Numerous observations of this gesture over the years leave no doubt in our minds that this is a signal of irritation. We’ve seen turtles direct the flipper swipe at each other, at nuisance fish, and yes, at us on occasion. Since we first described this behaviour, others have watched for it and our conclusion has been accepted by most observers, although not all.

    I hope this helps, and if you track down a copy of Dr. Comuzzie’s dissertation that you could share, I would appreciate it deeply.

  23. Robert Holcomb on February 19th, 2010 1:44 pm

    Need to know what sea turtles utilize as an aid to navigation to nesting beaches.

  24. Patricia M Kincaid on February 20th, 2010 11:06 am

    At Kopoho at the East tip of the Big Island, we saw a green sea turtle with what appeared to be a 4″ chunk of coral in his/her mouth. Could it be coral? Never seen that before.

  25. Peter on February 20th, 2010 2:53 pm

    Hi Robert,

    You’ve asked about what is likely the most amazing thing about sea turtles. Despite lots of research, no one is sure exactly how turtles navigate back to their nesting beaches. Research has suggested that it is a combination of an ability to sense the earth’s magnetic field and, when they get relatively close to the beach, their keen sense of smell. Neither of these explains fully how they do it, however.

    What amazes me is that females nesting for the first time navigate back to the beach on which they hatched. This means that somehow, their brains (which are not much bigger than an almond in fully grown turtles) retain a memory of a location they only know from the first few hours after they emerge from the egg. Once hatchlings dig out of the nest, they swim out to open water and are at sea for literally years (no one is sure how many). When they do approach shore again, it is not usually anywhere near the beach they hatched on. So not only are they astonishing navigators, they also have incredible retention, at least for that one piece of information.

  26. Peter on February 20th, 2010 3:02 pm

    Hi Patricia,

    In 20 years of diving with Hawaiian green turtles, I have never seen one with a big chunk of coral in its mouth. I have, however, seen them bite at all sorts of things so I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

    I wonder if it really was a green turtle, though. If that were a hawksbill, it would not surprise me at all to see it with a chunk of coral in its mouth. Hawksbills dig up coral to get at the sponges that live underneath. See our video on this at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybWapy0SbBg

  27. Lovisa Hagnell on February 21st, 2010 7:09 am

    Hi!
    My name is Lovisa, I am eight years old and I have just read a booklet on “Sam and Kim” and how Peggy kept them.
    How are Sam and Kim doing?
    Where do the most sea turtles live on earth?
    Hope to hear from you, love from Sweden and one meter of snow!
    Lovisa Hagnell

  28. David Tolbert on February 21st, 2010 8:05 am

    I am sixteen and I am doing a project on sea turtles. I am to come up with a hypothesis of how they live,travel,and eat.I have to have data within the last one to five years.Any advice???

  29. Patricia M Kincaid on February 22nd, 2010 10:42 am

    Thank you, Peter. I will try to get a better look at the turtle with the coral (?) in its mouth in Champagne Pond.

    BTW, saw a leatherback at Richardson near Hilo on Saturday Feb 20.

  30. Peter on February 23rd, 2010 5:07 am

    Patricia: I am soooo envious of your leatherback sighting! In nearly 3000 dives since 1988, we have never seen one.

  31. stud on February 24th, 2010 10:06 am

    i think that you guys ARE COOL FOR SAVING THE TURTLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Anonymous on February 25th, 2010 8:54 am

    This site is pretty cool. I think you rock.

  33. Anonymous on February 25th, 2010 9:00 am

    You should put info. about turtles, and not just about rescuing turtles.

  34. Peter on February 26th, 2010 3:41 am

    Thanks for the kind words. We’ve actually posted quite a lot of information about turtles. Did you visit any of the links on the left, such as the Table of Contents?

  35. nathaniel hill on February 26th, 2010 6:57 am

    good job keep up the good work

  36. Briana on February 28th, 2010 4:23 am

    This website helps out with lots of is turtles but all issue in the water not only helping sea turtles.

    I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU GOR THAT

    Thank You.

  37. Derek Keeble on March 7th, 2010 12:25 pm

    Hi What great site I am a 70 year old English amateur Artist and discovered the art of Wyland, on a recent, once in a life time, trip to Hawaii and I myself now love painting sea life subjects but at my age I don’t have the chance to take photo’s or see the wonderful creatures. I display 2 or 3 paintings at a local art exhibition once a year but have sold none at present. I have just printed a screen shot from your video and would like to try painting it. may I have your permission Please, I don’t want to break any copyright laws

  38. Peter on March 8th, 2010 3:24 am

    Hi Derek,

    You are more than welcome to use the image. All we require is a credit. Thanks for asking.

  39. Derek Keeble on March 8th, 2010 4:48 pm

    Thank you very much Peter will do

  40. Jeffrey Corliss on March 11th, 2010 4:59 pm

    I discovered the memorial to “Fire in the Turtle House” by accident some years ago and a friend sent me the link to your You Tube video that documented placing “The Book of Honu” at the same location. I was there today and the cases don’t appear to have moved and I saw no evidence of water intrusion.

  41. abdou on March 18th, 2010 5:02 am

    thnke you for yor paregraf

  42. Gary Hicks on March 19th, 2010 6:40 am

    Hi, This is a very interesting site. I saw Peters comment about the coral in its mouth. Dont Green Turtles occasionally eat coral as it has a high percentage of calcium in it.
    Therefore like it helps to make our bones stronger, it also helps to make their carapace harder?

    Thats just what I thought.

    Gary

  43. Zeith on March 19th, 2010 2:29 pm

    Hmm, good, that you save turtles.
    *TURTLES RULE!!!!!*

  44. syerin on March 23rd, 2010 5:15 pm

    where is dad bibliography????

  45. Kevin Roy on March 27th, 2010 10:27 pm

    Aloha from Maui! I’m a full time student at UH Maui College, and I’m doing my MOP project on FP tumors. I think both your website and your book are great! Thank you so much for helping Maui’s turtles over the years, and providing researchers with valuable data. Keep up the good work!

  46. Mark C on April 1st, 2010 3:01 pm

    Nice article!!!

    Found some pics of people releasing baby turtles over El Salvador over this link:

    http://www.viaggee.com/html/city/cit_phogst.php?CitCode=2132487&StaCode=3579&CouCode=67

    Cheers, Mark.

  47. not telling on April 2nd, 2010 9:25 am

    thanks for all the info

  48. Lizard on April 6th, 2010 4:30 pm

    I really appreciate the hard work and time you put into this site. Thank you!

  49. t-phan on April 7th, 2010 6:51 pm

    to whow i’m concern,
    During scape by boat from Viet Nam to find freedom . My friend boat had problem during sacping and the boat stop in the middle of pacificic ocean without water and gasoline. Poeple in the boat almost die. Somehow they saw a group of turtle come and push their boat to island nearby. The island name Kota and belong to Philippine. Do you know, where these sea turtle come from?
    This event happen during ausgust of 1977. Please e-mail back with your information.
    Thanks

  50. A Houshmand on April 8th, 2010 7:41 am

    This is a great effort. Thank you for all that you have done and you are doing for Turtles.
    I have come across one sea turtle that can not dive down. She/or he stays on the surface. Could you tell me what could be the problem , and how can I help her.

    We have temporaly relocated him to big saltwater aquarium to see if there will be any improvment on her situation.

    Will appriciate your coments on this.

    She was collected 6miles off shore, while we were watching her very closely for about an hour and observing her trying to dive down without any success.

    Thank you.

  51. Peter on April 9th, 2010 3:33 am

    Hi, thanks for caring about the turtle.

    This is not an uncommon problem. For some reason, the turtle has become full of trapped gas and will be unable to dive until the gas is released. I can’t tell you why; you will need a vet or someone experienced with turtles who can diagnose the reason. Many times the problem is an intestinal blockage that can removed, but there are other possibilities.

    I’m not sure where you are but in most jurisdictions, sea turtles are protected animals. There should be an authority you can contact for further help. Good luck and thanks again for caring for the turtle.

  52. Turtle lover on April 13th, 2010 3:21 am

    I love turtles and they are my fav animal and thanks so much for posting this website!!!! However it would be great if you put facts about turtles on for future reference too! Thanks everyone!

  53. waka flocka on April 16th, 2010 5:15 am

    we need to help the turtles!!!!!! they deserve to live
    if anyone has any info on turtles email me
    rickyr38@gmail.com

  54. Anonymous on April 17th, 2010 11:08 am

    Hi,l am in love with this site! I have a turtle myself, his name is shelldon
    (his name is spelled like that).

  55. Kate on April 22nd, 2010 2:44 pm

    I LOVE UR WEBSITE IT IS SOOOO SAD BUT I LOVE IT CUZ U GOT A LOT OF RESEARCH!

  56. loopy loo on April 28th, 2010 4:55 am

    hi i think that this website is amazing but you should include some amazing facts about sea turtles but apart from that i love it and i love you coz u just helped me get an A plus on my prodject lol xx

  57. Alexandra on April 28th, 2010 9:57 pm

    Aloha from the mainland-

    I am a sea turtle lover as well, and was very happy to find your book. My husband and I have been coming to Maui regularly since 2003, and we (or at least I) see turtles every time we come. My family thinks I am some sort of turtle magnet since I almost always see a turtle or six when I go snorkeling, but I think it is just my patience. (The turtle keeper at the Maui Ocean Center, however, thinks that they might be my ancestors coming to check up on me.)

    My best luck in finding turtles come at Napili. In 2008, I was swarmed by a group of turtles from behind who continued to swim with me as I just watched. Last December I was very fortunate to spend two hours in the water with a group of turtles, one of whom was very content to munch on algae and let me take photos of her. Perhaps we could meet someday and I could share those pictures with you. My husband and I will be on Maui in June, although we are staying in Wailea since we have always gone to the west side.

    My love of turtles, other animals, and conservation bent have led me to pursue ways to work with these wonderful creatures. I might become a vet tech, but have not been able to get in contact with any turtle rehabilitation facilities in Hawaii. Do you know of any?

    My other option is to go into the world of academia, and pursue a PhD so I can provide whatever information is most useful to scientists, conservationists, and enthusiasts. Do you know of any “turtle-ologists” at the U of H or elsewhere? I have an MS in epidemiology that might finally be put to good use in providing population data about turtles. I believe the University of California at Davis is starting a Wildlife Epidemiology program, but it seems silly to research turtles at a land-locked university.

    Mahalo for helping the turtles. I hope I can oneday help them too.

    Aloha-
    Alexandra

  58. pacaso on April 30th, 2010 12:56 pm

    hey this website is awesome i feel bad for the one turtle that had the tumors but i am happy that she is all better

  59. Krista on May 4th, 2010 1:43 pm

    this website helped me a ton with my project

  60. Anonymous on May 5th, 2010 5:11 am

    cool

  61. Peter on May 5th, 2010 8:24 am

    Hi Alexandra,

    Thanks for buying the book. Thanks also for caring about the turtles, they need all the friends they can get.

    I’m glad you met the turtles of Napili. One of our two study sites is close to there and so it’s likely that the turtles you saw were ones we’ve seen also. The honu are pretty faithful to their reefs. As you learned, many turtles have figured out that humans aren’t a threat. Some of them are still wary, but we get more and more reports of honu that allow people to get close looks. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you can recognize the signals that the turtle is unhappy about the distance between you. Of course, handling them is a bad idea. (Since you read the book you already know this, but I wanted to make the point for other visitors.)

    The opportunities to work with turtles in Hawaii are pretty limited. Since all sea turtles are protected under US law, anyone or any organization working with them must acquire permits that are not easily obtained. The Hawaiian Islands aren’t that large, and while there are some organizations that monitor nesting and basking sites, there’s no “turtle hospital” like the ones in North Carolina and Florida. The organizations that do exist have limited funding and are mostly volunteer-run, so if you do go into turtle work be prepared not to earn a fortune.

    The academic route is a bit more promising, but you would be much better off in Florida than in Hawaii. I’m not aware of turtle-specific options at U of H but you can find some at various Florida universities. I will, however, forward your questions to someone in Hawaii who is much more familiar with the possibilities than I am.

    Again, mahalo for your comments.

  62. Carol Reiner on May 11th, 2010 5:08 am

    Hi – I just wanted you to know that my 5 year old is doing a report on sea turtles this week in Kindegarten – she wants the kids to protect the turtles on the beaches. She was inspired by a tortoise from the Philadelphia zoo – named Prikles – he recently passed away. She will eventually be one of those wonderful people out on the beaches helping turtles to survive!

  63. Anonymous on May 18th, 2010 3:33 am

    hey turtles are kewl. they have all kinds of neat things bout them. they are all unoque in their own cute little way even some mean turtles are cute they have like 600 charactics they are amazing in my eyes they are cute and sometimes cuddly i dont believe in animal abuse either and i hope you guys dont either if you do i wanna let you know that animals and humans have alot in common and i dont really appreicate this kind of behavor towrds them and thanks tons for helpng the turtles but also think bout all the other animals that need help too. if you agree with me post a comment and let me know ow you feel about animal abuse!!!

    :( ABUSE IS MEAN~~

    =) THIS SITE YAYAY~~

  64. splashschool on May 19th, 2010 7:35 am

    we are working SAVE OUR INDIAN OCEAN TURTLES since 3 yrs now if you want to help us you are most welcome

  65. H.R.K. on May 26th, 2010 9:37 pm

    I see some Honu with FP on the big island, one is a very sad and bad case.
    Is there a Big Island contact person/office?

    Aloha

    H.R.K.

  66. Robert Shahon on May 28th, 2010 6:19 pm

    Hello Ursula and Peter,
    I am glad you are dedicating your site to this terrible affliction that affects the turtles. We were just in Kahana on West Maui which I believe is in between the two streams you talk about on your site and saw a bunch of turtles in the bay by our condo, up to 18 of them all resting on the shore. This is when I first discovered the terrible disease these turtles get. I went to take some pictures of these turtles while they were sunning themselves and saw several turtles that were showing signs of Fibropapaloma. One in particular looks like one pictured on your site. This one has a tumor on the right side of it’s head about the size of a regulation hardball and unfortunately it looks as if this turtle no longer has use of it’s right eye. It is also afflicted with several small to medium size tumord on it’s shoulders and around the neck area. This particular turtle looked to be at least 200lbs and over a meter in length. The thing that makes me upset is I see that a place in Florida is removing these growths and having a lot of success with external tumors, can’t do much for any internal tumors. Is there not a place on Maui that can help these poor turtles? I can’t find any information on organizations that help the turtles, only ones that are interested in stranded or dead turtles. Just does not seem right. I would like to see something published on the web for places to report turtles with this disease so they can possibly be helped. From my research into this affliction it appears that it has a lot to do with pollutants in the water from runoff and erosion so it makes sense that the turtles in this area between the two streams are having issues, “Getting Poisoned!”… It’s really sad. We have been going to the same condo’s since 1997 and we saw no turtles the first time we went and this last time (Beginning of May) I saw 18 on a beach all at once so I know the ocean health is getting better in the area but I believe there is a lot more that could be done.
    I have some great pictures of the turtle I mentioned above and 13 others all sunning on the beach a couple hundred yards from the condo’s we stay in if you are interested in them. Maybe the one I describe above is one you have named on your site.

    Sincerely
    Robert

  67. Anonymous on May 29th, 2010 9:18 am

    its cool how yall save turtles

  68. Peter on June 1st, 2010 8:28 am

    Aloha H.R.K,

    For reporting information see our pages at Reporting stranded turtles on the West coast (Kohala/Kona) of the Big Island and Reporting stranded turtles on the East coast (Hilo) of the Big Island. Note that they know there are turtles sick with tumors out there, but they can’t do much about them unless they are stranded ashore.

  69. Peter on June 1st, 2010 9:02 am

    Aloha Robert,

    Kahana is actually north of the two streams but it is close enough that there is almost certainly some overlap among the honu you see and the ones we see at Honokowai.

    The Turtle Hospital in Marathon does remove tumors from some turtles if they determine that the turtle will benefit from the operation. Surgical removal of tumors isn’t a solution except for individual animals, however. It is not a viable treatment for many afflicted turtles, and Florida turtles do not have the complication of (inoperable) tumors inside the mouth and throat that we see in Hawaii. Eye tumors usually can’t be removed without destroying the turtle’s eyesight, and eye tumors are by far the most common type. Internal tumors can’t be operated on.

    Turtles that have had surgery require intensive treatment and a long term holding facility as well. There is nothing like that in Hawaii. The money required isn’t available and sad to say, the benefits aren’t worth the cost. In Florida, our good friend Richie Moretti subsidizes his Turtle Hospital from his business income. While they’ve learned much about treating this nasty disease in Marathon, it is not a model for Hawaii, or anywhere else really. Most turtles that the authorities in Hawaii actually handle are too sick to treat, and it is almost impossible to treat any turtle unless it strands ashore. Even a sick turtle is too difficult to handle in its natural environment. We have reporting links at The Sickbay but as I mentioned, they can’t do anything unless the turtle strands.

    Be wary of research that blames pollution for the problem. While we started out thinking that there was a connection, no one has ever found evidence to support that. That’s not for lack of trying either. The most anyone can say is that there are probably environmental co-factors involved.

    I’m not surprised that seeing honu on the beach is new to you. It’s a new behavior for West Maui that just started in the past couple of years. The number you describe is higher than I normally hear, though. Usually it’s one or two. Four or five is a high number. We’re certainly interested.

  70. Norm SandersWe on June 6th, 2010 12:05 pm

    Aloha Peter: Wonderful book! My wife and I are visiting from Australia and presently snnorkling with the Kauai Ohana.

  71. norm sanders on June 6th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Hi, I m coming to Maui on June 17 and would love to meet your organisation as I m a regular snorkeller, love the book and also a retired scientist.

    Do you have a contact email or phone number ? Thanks, Norm Sanders

  72. Peter on June 7th, 2010 3:00 am

    Aloha Norm,

    Mahalo for the kind words. We’re not an organization, it’s just me and my wife and a web page. We’re not on Maui right now either, we’re stuck in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Usually we’d arrive for a two month stay around the beginning of July, but this year for personal reasons our visit is delayed until November.

    Enjoy the honu and tell them we said aloha!

  73. John Eleps on June 12th, 2010 8:53 pm

    Your website is the best i have seen in agers

  74. Peter on June 13th, 2010 3:23 am

    Hi John,

    That’s really nice of you to say that, considering how neglected it’s been recently. Normally I’d start posting about our adventures on Maui starting next month, but this year we won’t be going until November.

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