World Conservation and Wildlife Trust

Fighting to protect the World's Marine Life, Wildlife, Biodiversity and Population.

The Hawksbill Turtle


General information on the hawksbill turtle

The Hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered animal and under serious threat. They are found in the Central area of the Atlantic Ocean and the whole of the Pacific Ocean. They live on jellyfish and scrubs such as sponges on the seabed. They are fascinating creatures as they are able to change their shell's colour according to the temperature of the water.

 Scientists have discovered that this species can digest highly toxic substances in sponges, the sponges also contain high concentrations of silica, therefore this makes the turtle one of the very few animals capable of eating siliceous organisms. Some can grow to 1m in length and 45-75kg in mass. They are found in the tropical reefs of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Causes for endangerment

The flesh of the creature is a delicacy and is poached by the Chinese/Japanese. Over 45,00 kg is exported in Japan. Also their shells are primary sources of the 'tortoise shell' material which is used for decorative purposes. Only 15,000 at maximum remain. 

Article by RHN.