Sea Turtle Population In Palau Threatened By Jewelry Trade

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Exploitation of endangered species reportedly increasing

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, July 16, 2015) – Exhaling its last breath, the juvenile hawksbill turtle, is finally free from horrendous pain that has led to its slow death. Having its beautiful but lifesaving shell removed while it is still alive and left to die in the searing heat of the sun, this poor hawksbill turtle spells the fate of number of its kind being decimated all over Palau.

Everywhere you go, it is reported by fishermen and picnickers alike, that beaches around the island and even the Rock Islands are buzzing with flies over rotting hawksbill turtles whose shell has been removed and left to die.

Even though this species of turtle is valued for its shell, its meat is not so popular with locals and therefore, not sold like other sea turtles.

This alarming trend in killing of this beautiful sea creature, is due to the growing demand for jewelry made from its shell in Palau.

Even though it has always been held in high value by the local tradition, this level of exploitation has not been seen before.

Palau national laws completely prohibits any hunting, taking or any other method of harvesting of this species of turtle since December 2010.

According to Wikipedia, The World Conservation Union classifies the hawksbill as critically endangered. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them. It is also listed as endangered species under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Palau is a signatory to both CITES and IUCN.

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