King to lead turtle network’s Hawaii program

Sea turtle biologist Cheryl King has been hired to direct the Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Hawaii program, the marine conservation organization announced.

King will be the organization’s first Hawaii-based staff member and will lead a major expansion of its work in the Pacific, according to an announcement.

She has studied turtles and worked in Hawaiian sea turtle conservation for 18 years, the organization noted.

King’s master’s degree thesis studied sea turtles within the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve in 2007. She has worked in government, nongovernment and tourism-based settings.

“I’m incredibly passionate about ocean conservation, and as Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Hawaii director, I look forward to working with longtime alliances and forming new ones within our local communities, wildlife organizations and government agencies to help further understand and protect Hawaiian marine species and their environment,” King said.

The restoration network has worked to reduce the impacts of longline fishing on endangered leatherneck and loggerhead sea turtles, and it has supported the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, said Peter Fugazzotto, the organization’s strategic programs director.

“We have participated in significant legal actions and brought considerable advocacy resources to protect the wildlife and waters of the Hawaiian Islands,” he said.

The organization’s work includes opposing the delisting of Hawaiian green sea turtles as a threatened species, supporting efforts to regulate the aquarium fish trade and helping secure increased protections for false killer whales.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who owns most of Lanai, has provided financial support to the organization.

The Turtle Island Restoration Network has offices in California and Texas and has funded projects in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico and Papua New Guinea.

For more information, go to www.seaturtles.org.

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