Last updated: 03:40 PM ET, Mon August 03 2015

Endangered Sea Turtle Shuts Down USS Arizona Memorial

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 03, 2015

Endangered Sea Turtle Shuts Down USS Arizona Memorial

An endangered green sea turtle found along the dock of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor last week prompted the National Park Service to shut down the popular tourist attraction for three days, KHON 2 reported.

The turtle was discovered eating along the dock on Wednesday. It remained there on Thursday and Friday, leading NPS officials to disallow tour boats from docking all three days. 

People are recommended to remain at least 150 feet away from the turtles. 

As a result, an estimated 3,500 visitors were prevented from experiencing the memorial. The memorial — rated the top thing to do in Honolulu based on TripAdvisor reviews — receives as many as 5,000 visitors daily. 

Because state and federal laws protect endangered species, the turtle was given priority over tourists, much to the chagrin of tour guide Tevita Tufaga, who told KHON 2 he's "worried for the guests."

"It's a dangerous zone if that's the case," Tufaga told KHON 2. "Ships go in and out of that place. There should be professionals come and remove and take them to a safer haven for them."

While a NPS spokesperson described the sea turtle sighting as unusual, they also pointed out that turtles have been uncovered near Gun Turret 3 on the USS Arizona Memorial as well as on the Battleship Missouri, per KHON 2. 

This past May, the memorial was closed for several days after sustaining damage from a collision involving tugboats and the USNS Mercy, an 894-foot-long hospital ship. Fortunately, this time around the memorial wasn't damaged.

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