The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is one of the most beautiful marine species navigating our seas and oceans. It inhabits the Indian Sea, the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.
This reptile is found near coral reefs and rock formations in shallow coastal areas. When fully grown, they are the sea turtles with the most valuable carapace, which consists of translucent shields of various colors ranging from yellow, amber, red, brown and black. The carapace is flattened, very hydrodynamic and its terminal part is heavily serrated.
Paradoxically, the beauty that this marine species offers today spells its death. The hawksbill sea turtle has been caught in large numbers to exploit its eggs, meat, skin and, above all, its shell, which is highly prized for processing various ornaments, jewelry and frames for glasses.
Although hunting and marketing is prohibited as it is an endangered species, the small turtle population in the Caribbean Sea continues to be reduced through illegal trade and commerce.
Endangered Hawksbill Turtle
Currently, CITES (International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) has classified this species as critically endangered and has therefore banned its marketing. However, it is necessary to create and strengthen (the already created) environmental laws to prevent illegal traffic. However, since the sale of tortoiseshell jewelry and ornaments is a criminal offense in Venezuela, it is not uncommon to find items made from black amber shells in some tourist shops.
Although scientists, environmentalists, and environmental institutions fight to conserve the hawksbill sea turtle, we have in our hands the best and most important program for their conservation: Don’t buy a hawksbill sea turtle item. The commitment must be consistent with the preservation of the environment and the animal and plant species that live in it. A future (neither better nor worse) is unimaginable without nature.
Another threat to turtles is marine habitat degradation. The destruction of coral reefs through pollution, dredging or careless anchor handling reduces the shelter and food sources of these reptiles.
The problem of litter on beaches is causing thousands of sea turtles to die from eating or getting entangled in balloons, plastic bags, lost nets, etc. Once again, another of the most important conservation actions to maintain a balanced ecosystem on our planet is in our hands: don’t throw litter on the beaches. Recycle and reduce the use of plastic products.
Fritz Alejandro Sanchez
Social Communicator / Venezuela
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