How GPS Can Help Save the World's Most Endangered Sea Turtles
Tracking hawksbill turtles by satellite is yielding information crucial to the fight to save them from poachers, traffickers, and hunters.
Hawksbill sea turtles, named for their pointed beaks, are teetering on the edge of extinction.
With populations down to perhaps 10 percent of what they were a century ago, according to Richard Hamilton, the Nature Conservancy’s Melanesia program director, hawksbills are the most critically endangered of all seven species of sea turtles. Found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, they’re also among the smallest.
They face seemingly insurmountable threats: a thriving illegal trade in their shells, poaching of their eggs, hunting for their meat, beach erosion and human development at their nesting sites, and degradation of coral reefs where they forage.
We don’t know exactly how many hawksbills are left. Counting them is complicated