The Exodus of Turtleton by Tim Doyle
Limited Edition of 125 (signed & numbered)
6-color screen print on 130 lb cougar natural paper
Oversized at 36" x 24"
Printed by Nakatomi Inc.
Species of the month
Hawksbill Sea Turtles
Photograph by Brian Skerry
Photograph found via Wildlife Extra
Critically Endangered (IUCN 3.1)
Hawksbill turtles are found in warm tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and considered to be the most beautiful of the 7 species of sea turtles (all of which are endangered) due to their colorful shells. They avoid deep waters and spend the majority of their time along shallow coastline in coral reefs, lagoons, rocky areas and oceanic islands where sandy nesting locations are within reach and sponges are in abundance.
Named for its sharp, bird-like beak and narrow head, hawksbills can reach into cracks and crevices of the coral reef in search for food. Their diet is very specialized, feeding almost exclusively on sponges. Hawksbills are not particularly large compared with other sea turtles. They can weigh 150 pounds (68 kg) and grow up to about 45 inches (114 cm) in shell length.
Like other sea turtles, hawksbills make incredible migrations in order to move from feeding sites to nesting grounds, normally on tropical beaches. Mating occurs every two to three years and normally takes place in shallow waters close to the shore.
In the last 100 years hawksbill turtle populations have declined more than 80%, mainly due to the trade in their shell, also referred to as “tortoiseshell”. Its brightly colored and intricately designed shell is traded globally for ornamental and souvenir purposes. The shell is used for items such as jewelry, combs and brushes, and inlay in furniture and other decorative pieces.
Like many sea turtles, Hawksbills were hunted close to extinction prior to the ban on the tortoiseshell trade. Between 1950 and 1990, Japan alone imported an estimated 2 million turtles. Despite the fact that the international trade of their shells is now illegal, there is still a thriving black market and Hawksbill eggs are still eaten around the world.
Other major threats to hawksbill populations include destruction of nesting and feeding habitat, pollution, boat strikes, coastal development, entanglement in fishing gear, and destructive fishing practices such as dynamite fishing.
You can help save hawksbill turtles
- Donate to organization working to raise awareness and research such as PangeaSeed, Sea Turtle Conservancy, Sea Turtle Restoration Project etc.
- Advocate stronger global and regional action to protect Hawksbills and other sea turtles.
- Support the establishment and protection of marine protected areas (MPAs).
- Recommend ecotourism and dive or snorkel with sea turtles – but remember to look and DO NOT touch these vulnerable animals. This offers sustainable monetary alternatives to destructive fishing methods.
- Think twice before you buy. Do not support the illegal trade of sea turtle products and try to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Educate yourself, friend and family on the issues facing sea turtles and other endangered ocean animals. Act NOW if we wish to save our seas.