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Thanks to the research of a US magazine, it was detected that the number of these marine animals has decreased due to the sale of their shells, as well as the loss of their habitat.
Since ancient times, the shells of hawksbill turtles have been used as decoration, jewelry and combs; it is the color they have with golden, brown and orange stripes that have captivated people. However, a new study revealed that more of these species have been lost than had been calculated.
Science Advances magazine, based on data from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, confirmed that nearly 9 million hawksbills were hunted for their shells, from 1844 to 1992. These figures, says Emily Miller, a scientific researcher, are amazing, mainly because marine turtles are less abundant, with an estimated current population of less than 25 thousand females nesting throughout their range in the tropics.
While the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), it allocated the hawksbill sea turtle at its highest level of protection; In 1977, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which establishes the state of conservation of animals and plants, called this species “critically endangered”. But this did not stop the violence towards these animals.
David Godfrey, executive director of Sea Turtle Conservancy, a nonprofit organization based in Florida, United States, said the study will help give an idea of the historical size of the turtle population, and conservationists to develop plans for recovery of the hawksbill
Before the Science Advances magazine revealed the number of losses, previous evaluations showed that from 1950 to 1992 only 1.4 million animals had been captured.
According to Miller, when the turtles were more abundant, the easiest targets to capture were the adult females. But as these became more difficult to find, the younger young adults began to be attacked.
He adds that consumers can help buy seafood from sustainable sources to avoid sellers who are potentially involved in illegal fishing practices that threaten hawksbill.
In addition to trade, the IUCN ensures that there are other threats that endanger the hawksbill turtle, such as loss of habitat due to residential and commercial development that invades the nesting grounds; as well as oil and gas drilling, fishing, pollution and rising ocean temperatures and acidity associated with climate change, which is degrading the habitats of turtle coral reefs.
Sea turtles are important, according to the US National Geographic magazine, for ocean grazing, they help maintain the health of coral reefs and seagrass.
According to the study, the population decline has probably altered the dynamics of marine ecosystems.
Source: Reporte Indigo