KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) – Five turtles waded into the ocean after gaining their freedom at the Big Island’s Mauna Lani Resort on Independence Day.
The hotel released the green sea turtles as part of an ongoing partnership with Sea Life Park on Oahu.
The marine park sends the hotel three-to-five-month-old turtles from its captive breeding program. The resort raises the turtles in ponds until they’ve grown enough to join the wild.
Mauna Lani fishpond manager Pii Laeha says the resort has released more than 200 turtles in nearly 25 years.
West Hawaii Today reported hundreds gathered along the shore to watch the turtle release on Thursday.
Laeha says the event helps people see the culture of Hawaii. He says the hotel is trying to raise awareness about turtles and the environment in general.