Hawksbill Sea Turtle by yulianna CastillO

This is the flag of the British Virgin Islands, as well as one of the beaches that some Hawksbill Sea Turtles probably lay their eggs.

The British Virgin Islands overseas territory in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It's part of an island chain collectively known as the Virgin Islands, which makes up the northeastern extremity of the Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico lies to the west. The Virgin Islands are divided administratively between the United Kingdom and the United States, the British territory lying to the north and east of the U.S. islands. The British territory consists of four larger islands (Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke) and 32 smaller islands. The chief town and port is Road Town on Tortola.

Importance: Hawksbill Sea Turtles help maintain the health of coral reefs. As they remove prey like sponges from the reef's surface, they provide better access for reef fish to feed. They also have cultural significance and tourism value. For example, for local residents in the Coral Triangle, the flow of visitors who come to admire these turtles is a key source of income.
Where Can They Be Found: As you can see here, Hawksbill Sea Turtles mostly stay in tropical reefs in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic ocean. These sea turtles stay no more than 65 feet under sea level. . Near Australia, the sea turtles are spread out, unlike you see in Central America, where they are all close together. This is because they have a predilection for tropical waters, like many sea turtles. They spend most of their time in coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, and shallow coastal areas.
Hawksbill Sea Turtles are critically endangered. Their population has declined more than 80% in the last century, due to the trade of their beautiful shells, or carapaces. Their shells are used for combs, jewelry, brushes, and other decorative pieces of furniture. Even though this is illegal, there is still a thriving black market. (an illegal traffic or trade in officially controlled or scarce commodities) Other threats include destruction of their habitats and nesting sites, getting tangled to fishing gear, and destructive fishing practicing(dynamite fishing is used to gather fish from coral reefs easier). Although destructive fishing is illegal, it is still used in the Southeast. Because of all of these threats, there are only approximately 20,000 female Hawksbill Sea Turtles left in the world.
World Wildlife Fund is trying to decrease use of J-shaped hooks, and trying to get everyone to use circle-shaped hooks. They believe that this can significantly reduce the bycatch of turtles in longline fisheries. WWF also works to develop alternative livelihoods, so less families depend on turtle products for money. Those who are apart of this group works to stop the illegal trade of these turtles through TRAFFIC (wildlife trade monitoring network).
  • Shells change colors depending on the temperature of the water they are in.
  • Have claws at the end of it's flippers.
  • Mainly feed on sponges as well as jellyfish and sea anemones.
  • Sea turtles have a compass in their brains. (can detect the Earth's magnetic field to go back to where they laid their first eggs.)
  • Sources
  • http://www.arkive.org/hawksbill-turtle/eretmochelys-imbricata/
  • http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/hawksbill-turtle
  • http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/hawksbill-turtle/
  • http://www.nwf.org/wildlife/wildlife-library/amphibians-reptiles-and-fish/sea-turtles/hawksbill-turtle.aspx

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