Featured Image: Smithsonian.com/Kyle Van Houtan/NOAA
Poachers are known for taking the beauty of nature and attempting to use that for their own gain and one species that generations of poachers have sought is the hawksbill sea turtle. Some think this is the most beautiful reptile in the ocean. This endangered turtle is seeked most for its multi-hued shell.
The hawksbill sea turtle is critically endangered according to the IUCN. With only 25 breeding females alive, the species is struggling for survival. Unfortunately, this species has been fighting extinction for a long time.
A recent study by researchers at Monterey Bay Aquarium shows the historic levels of exploitation on sea turtles and how they are still impacting these species today.
The team compiled data on the tortoiseshell trade from archives around the country and with that data the team discovered that over 1,186,087 pounds of tortoiseshell made it to the market before 1950. And the trend continued in the following decades.
Millions of turtles were killed to make consumer products like combs, eyeglasses, and many other things. To many, it is shocking just how many turtles were taken as a part of this trade.
According to a member of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, David Godfrey, “It’s not overly shocking to hear that the numbers were so large because we know how seriously the populations declined.”
The hawksbill sea turtles were protected in 1977 under international law, but many are still caught illegally every year.
Read more from our source, here.