Target: Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board
Goal: Save the Hawksbill Sea Turtle from certain extinction by ending the illegal wildlife trade
The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is a creature that has graced our world’s tropical oceans for over 100 million years. The species has now entered the ‘critically endangered’ category, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These sea turtles are extremely important to our ecosystem, for they help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds. They also hold great cultural significance and tourism values. For example in the Coral Triangle, a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean, Hawksbill Turtles are a main attraction for tourists. The revenue generated from these tourists is a vital source of income for the local communities within this specific region.
Fishery bycatch is a leading factor contributing to the extinction of the Hawksbill Turtle. They are very susceptible to entanglement in gillnets and are accidentally caught on fishing hooks. In these instances the turtles drown because they do need air to survive. Another important threat to the Hawksbill, is the illegal wildlife trade. Due to their beautiful and ornate shells, they are captured and sold illegally so their shells can be made into jewelry and casings. They are also victims of severe loss of habitat, pollution, and coastal development.
One of the largest populations of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle is located on the coasts of Puerto Rico, and this is also where a large amount of illegal wildlife trade is taking place.
By signing the petition below you are urging the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board to acknowledge the impending extinction of the Hawksbill, and to completely end illegal wildlife trade specifically pertaining to the conservation of this species.
Dear Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board,
Puerto Rico is home to a large majority of the Hawksbill Sea Turtles that occupy the tropical oceans. This creature has been in these waters for over 100 million years and they are now a critically endangered species on the brink of extinction. These turtles are extremely important in maintaining the health and development of the marine ecosystem, which in turn is helpful for the entire ecosystem. They are also of huge benefit to many communities inside the Coral Triangle, as their independent economies rely on the tourists who make the journey to solely see these turtles.
A predominant factor contributing to the extinction of the Hawksbill Turtle is the existence and practice of the illegal wildlife trade. Due to their ornate shells, these turtles are specifically hunted, traded, and killed to make jewelry and other useless items.
I urge you to recognize these imminent threats to the Hawksbill Sea Turtle, and end the illegal trade and inhumane killing of these creatures before they are completely extinct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Farm4Static via Flickr