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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


Call experts to
help sick sea turtles

Question: I know that in Hawaii, it's kind of illegal to touch sea turtles. However, I have seen turtles with tumors on both eyes dying on top of seaweed several times. Am I permitted to touch and help these turtles in any way?

Answer: If you see a stranded sea turtle, call the National Marine Fisheries Service at 983-5730, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; or the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 587-0077 on weekends, holidays and after hours.

The numbers pertain only to sea turtles, which are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and state wildlife laws. All sea turtles, dead or alive, are protected.

You are asked not to call 911, the Honolulu Police Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sea Life Park, the Hawaiian Humane Society or the Waikiki Aquarium.

A stranded sea turtle is defined as an ocean turtle found dead, injured, sick, with a tumor or otherwise abnormal in appearance and out of the water.

You should not touch a turtle unless you are specifically asked to do so by the Fisheries Service or DOCARE.

Be prepared to report exactly where the turtle is, its size, whether it's alive or dead and the extent of its injuries, said Denise Parker, a research associate with the Fisheries Service.

"Then we'll send someone out to pick up the animal," she said. If it's alive, it'll be taken to a veterinarian; if it's dead, post-mortem tests may be done.

If you see someone harming, harassing or killing a sea turtle, call the service's Law Enforcement Branch at 541-2727 or 800-853-1964.

You can also call Marlu Oliphant, president of the nonprofit Save the Sea Turtles group, at 638-2211 for information.

Q: Why is the contractor for the city project on King Street, between River and Maunakea streets, allowed to work past 3 p.m.? There are traffic snarls and only two lanes open, traveling Diamond Head, well past 5 p.m.

A: Wow! We know you sent in your complaint in November, but the work is still continuing so we hope this helps answer your questions, even if it doesn't alleviate your stress.

We asked the city Department of Transportation Services for an explanation in November and December and finally got an answer from the Department of Design and Construction on Friday.

The contractor obtained street usage and noise permits to allow work to go past 3 p.m. to expedite sidewalk improvements along King Street, according to Gary Yee, acting director of Design and Construction.

"To minimize traffic congestion," buses on King Street have been rerouted to Hotel Street. The rerouting has improved traffic flow on King Street, Yee said.

The project, which stretches from River to Bethel Street, includes narrowing sidewalks, planting trees and installing conduits to accommodate the placement of security cameras in traffic signals.

It was targeted to be completed earlier, but because of unforeseen problems, such as plugged drainage lines, the estimated completion date now is May or June. The $3.9 million project is now expected to cost more than $4 million.

Auwe

To whoever broke into my car and stole my gifts on Christmas Day at Salt Lake Shopping Center. You taught me a lesson about not leaving anything valuable in the back seat. I hope some day you feel as violated as I did. -- Cookie K.





Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com




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