Hawksbills have existed for the ‘last 100 million years’. They are known for their narrow pointed beaks and beautiful patterned shells. They live in the warm, tropical oceans – Atlantic Ocean, Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Hawksbills are omnivorous. Toxic to other animals, coral reef sponges are their primary source of food. With their pointed beaks, they can reach into the small cracks of the coral reefs to extract and feed on sponges. With this type of feeding, Hawksbills provide service to other marine life and are an important part of the ecosystem. They contribute to the health of coral reefs and other marine life.
Sadly, Hawksbills are one of the most endangered species on the planet. Research suggests: “There are only 5 populations world-wide, made up of around 8,000 turtles in total, and with only 1,000 females nesting annually.”
In addition, Hawksbills are hunted by humans. Their ‘gold and brown patterned shells’ are sold illegally on the black market for making ornament and jewelry.
What To Do to Protect Them
There are a number of ways we can do to protect them:
1. Stop hunting and stop making ornaments and jewelry with their “tortoiseshells”.
2. Stop polluting the sea.
3. Stop polluting the beach so they can nest and lay eggs.