KAILUA-KONA (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 turtles - ages 3-5 months - from its captive breeding program. The resort raises the turtles in ponds until they've grown enough to join the wild.
The resort has released more than 200 turtles in nearly 25 years, Mauna Lani fishpond manager Pii Laeha said.
Hundreds gathered along the shore to watch the turtle release Thursday, West Hawaii Today reported.
Laeha says the event helps people see the culture of Hawaii.
"The bigger picture is that we are trying to raise awareness not only about the turtles, but our environment in general," Laeha said.