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A hawksbill turtle swimming through a reef, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea © Jürgen Freund / WWF

A hawksbill turtle swimming through a reef, Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea © Jürgen Freund / WWF

The plight of the Hawksbill

22 May 2017

Keywords
  • hawksbill turtles
  • illegal wildlife trade
  • marine species
  • marine turtles

The future for many sea turtles doesn't look good. Just recently, the Queensland Government announced that the hawksbill turtle is now endangered.

 

But most Australians aren't even aware that hawksbills are in crisis. 

 

If trends continue, we could see this stunning turtle gone within one generation.

 

The extinction of the hawksbill would be devastating, not only for us as its custodians, but for the entire Reef. Hawksbills eat sponges and algae that help keep the Reef ecosystem in balance.


These prehistoric sea creatures face an overwhelming number of threats to their survival – they're targeted in fisheries, caught as bycatch, or entangled in ghost nets - they're losing their nesting and feeding habitat to the impacts of climate change – but the biggest threat is unsustainable legal and illegal hunting for their meat, eggs, and shells across their range.


While there's no easy solution, it is solvable using a mixture of the right tools.


At WWF-Australia we are working on several projects to ensure hawksbill turtle survival. Working with partners, we are leading on-ground projects like our satellite program that help us track turtle movements.


A hawksbill turtle fitted with a satelite tracker © WWF-Aus / Christine Hof


If we are to save this species, we must identify where they go so that we can protect areas crucial to their survival and better manage threats. If we don’t, they could be gone from our region forever. 

 

Learn how we're tracking hawksbills in my latest update from the field