The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is a critically endangered species for numerous reasons. What is causing the demise of this beautiful creature, and what can be done to protect it?
Why is the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Endangered?
The hawksbill sea turtle is endangered for a number of different reasons.
The loss of habitat for this turtle, specifically the loss of nesting habitats and stable feeding ecosystems, are causing the turtle population to decrease naturally (although some of the loss of habitat has to do with human interference).
Pollution and coastal development are also negatively affecting these turtles by destroying their habitats, ecosystems, and water quality.
Saying this, there are also some very unnatural reasons as to why the hawksbill sea turtle is demising.
The largest reason for their endangerment is the illegal wildlife trade. The hawksbill shell is very beautiful, and so selling them can bring in quite a price. The shells are often made into jewelry. Unfortunately, this means that the hawksbill is hunted despite it being illegal to do so.
In addition hawksbills are greatly affected by fisheries. They are often and easily entangled in nets, which causes them to drown if they are not able to come to the surface for air.
What Laws are in Place to Protect the Hawksbill Turtle?
There are a few things currently being done to help protect the hawksbill sea turtle.
First, some organizations are working with fisheries to help prevent bycatch in turtles. Turtles are tracked to make sure that nets can be placed in areas they are not, and fishing hooks are being changed to be a more rounded shape.
Regulations are also being put in place to help protect the habitat of these turtles. Some volunteers monitor nesting sites to ensure people do not disturb the turtles of hatchlings.
Some governments are also pairing up with conservation organizations to see what they can do legislatively to help protect this critically endangered species.
What Can You Do to Help the Hawksbill?
Although you may not be a member of the government or an employee of a conservation organization, there are a few easy ways that you as an individual can help protect this turtle.
First, do your research: make sure that you are not supporting fisheries that have been known to harm sea turtles, and that you are buying sea life that is not a huge part of the Hawksbill diet.
Second, get into reusable items! The less trash – especially plastic – we buy, the less we have to throw away and the less likely it is to get into the ocean.
Third, if you are on a beach that is known for sea turtle nesting, turn off any lights at night. This can disorient turtles and make them confused during hatching time.
Additionally, if you are on a beach known for sea turtle nesting, do not bother any turtles: they are not there for you, but to create a new generation and help save their species!
Lastly, volunteering is an excellent way to make a difference. Help pick up trash on beaches near your area, and ask any conservation organizations if they are in need of volunteers.
The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered species that is in need of help. While some people are purposefully hurting these turtles, there are still numerous ways that kind people like you can help the hawksbill population. To learn more about this animal, visit our Hawksbill Sea Turtle Fact & Information Guide.