Endangered Hawks-bill Turtles
How are Hawks-bill Sea Turtles on the list of extinction? The hawks-bill turtle is found throughout tropical waters worldwide, and are known to nest on beaches in at least 60 countries. People hunt these turtles for their own goods but also some times they harm things that affect these turtles. If people hurt these turtles their population decreases and this can affect their predators and the amount of their preys.
Hawks-bill Sea Turtles face threats on nesting beaches, marine environments, and habitat loss of coral reef communities. Coral reefs are close to destruction because of human activities like toxic spills and vessel groundings in the waters. Past evidence suggests that global climate changes should be changed because it is impacting on the coral reefs from which can give diseases to the coral reef and other animals like the hawks-bill sea turtles who use the coral reefs for a food source can make the amount of hawks-bill sea turtles drop cause of death.
Hawks-bill are a chief source of decorative tortoiseshell, used for jewelry as far back as the Nubian rulers of Egypt and China’s Han Empire; Julius Caesar considered warehouses brimming with tortoiseshell to be one of the most valuable spoils of war.Whole stuffed turtles are sold as curios in the tourist trade. Hawks-bill products are openly available in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica despite a prohibition on harvesting hawks-bill and their eggs. Humans find their shells highly attractive. The full extent of the threat is not known, but experts believe that the killing of hawks-bills for bekko is a major problem. There remains a continuing demand for the hawks-bill shell as well as other products, including leather, oil, perfume, and cosmetics.
The British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti, and the Turks and Caicos Islands (U.K.) all permit some form of legal take of hawks-bill turtles. Additionally, hawks-bill are harvested for their eggs and meat. In the Pacific, directed harvest of nesting females and eggs on the beach and hawks-bill in the water is still widespread. Directed take is a major threat to hawks-bill in American Samoa, Guam, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (NOAA Fisheries and USFWS 1998). In addition to directed harvest, increased human presence is a threat to hawks-bill throughout the Pacific. In particular, increased recreational and commercial use of nesting beaches, beach camping and fires, litter and other refuse, general harassment of turtles, and loss of nesting habitat from human activities negatively impact hawks-bill.
Despite widespread distribution in both the Atlantic and Pacific, this sea turtle is threatened with extinction.Incidental capture in fishing gear, primarily gillnets, and vessel strikes also adversely affect this species’ recovery. Hawks-bill are considered Critically Endangered around the world by the IUCN Red List and are listed as Endangered in the US.Some researchers believe the Eastern Pacific Hawks-bill is likely the most endangered sea turtle population worldwide. Historically, commercial exploitation was the primary cause of the decline of hawks-bill sea turtles. Some turtles are also endangered because of poor care like when birds and other animals attack the sea turtles and have them for a snack.
Hawks-bill are omnivorous and will also eat mollusks, marine algae, crustaceans, sea urchins, fish, and jellyfish. Their hard shells protect them from many predators, but they still fall prey to large fish, sharks, crocodiles, octopuses, and humans.These turtles are solitary Nester’s, nesting in low densities on small scattered beaches.On average, they nest roughly 4 times per season at 2 week intervals and lay around 140 eggs per nest. Nests however, may contain over 200 eggs! Probably less than one out of 1,000 eggs will survive and reach adulthood.
Their population has declined more than 80% in the last century, primarily due to the trade in their beautiful carapace (shell), also referred to as “tortoiseshell”. Its carapace, brightly colored with intricate designs, is traded internationally for ornamental purposes. The shell is used for items such as jewelry, combs and brushes, and inlay in furniture and other decorative pieces.In Nicaragua, like in many places, uncontrolled development on the nesting beaches of the Pearl Cays threatens the recovery of the country’s globally important hawks-bill nesting population. Scientists estimate that hawks-bill populations have declined more than 80 percent during the last century.
WCS is working to save sea turtle species around the world by focusing on the protection of key habitats through research, training, and community outreach. Our conservationists have helped identify crucial feeding grounds and create protected nesting areas, and are working to reduce poaching by developing alternative livelihoods and protein sources for people who rely on sea turtle meat and eggs.WCS is working with local authorities to create management plans and protected areas for sea turtle conservation, such as in Nicaragua’s Pearl Cays, where our program has significantly reduced the poaching of hawks-bill turtle eggs. In Africa, the WCS-Ocean Giants Program works in the coastal waters of Gabon and the Gulf of Guinea to ensure petroleum exploration and extraction do not endanger hawks-bill and other sea turtles.
We should all try to help these turtles survive because there are not many left in this world. We can all help by just taking care of the oceans environment where these unique animals live. Also we can try to create new feeding grounds for these turtles, give them the environment that they deserve. These Turtles Are in danger of losing their species and they need your help!