“This is why people don’t like tourists in Hawaiʻi, bro” was the lament of one person who captured a video of two people ignoring warning messages while trying to get a close-up picture of turtles on a beach.
The footage (embedded below) has sparked outrage on Reddit, with users baffled as to why these individuals chose to ignore a sign that clearly reads: “Stop 10 ft from honu turtles.” Some readers wondered if the tourists possibly didn’t speak English, but the original poster followed up that locals spoke with them and “they did anyway … once they came closer the natives scolded them.”
When trying to get a photo to show off to friends and family, apparently the rules don’t apply.
The honu turtle, otherwise known as the Hawaiian green sea turtle, is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world, according to Maui Ocean Center.
The organization also noted that all sea turtles are categorized as endangered species in the United States, so harming, harassing, or touching a sea turtle is considered a federal offense.
“Whether the turtle is in the water or resting on a beach, any physical contact is prohibited,” Maui Ocean Center’s website says. “Current research in Hawaiʻi shows the Hawaiian green turtle population has increased since they have been protected by federal law.”
Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response said there are only around 4,000 nesting females in the wild despite a steadily increasing population.
With so few numbers, the survival of all offspring is essential to the species’ longevity. This tourist could have destroyed nesting areas by ignoring the warning signs, with it possible that the basking turtles had laid eggs on the beach.
It’s incredibly frustrating to see individuals putting the safety and well-being of animals at risk because they don’t know how to keep their distance or use the zoom function on their cameras.
Fortunately, turtles aren’t especially dangerous to humans, but even in the presence of dangerous animals like bison, elks, or even bears, some people show zero regard for animals in their natural habitat.
While unusual animals are undoubtedly incredible to witness in person, showing them respect by giving them space and not bothering them is the best way to show your appreciation.
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