Hawksbill Turtle

Hawksbill turtles are named after their prominent bird-like beak. They feed mainly on sponges and play a caretaker role on coral reefs: by eating sponges they make room for more corals to settle and stop corals from being overgrown. As such hawksbills may play a significant role in coral reef growth, a role that is under threat as the numbers of hawksbills decline. In part, this decline is the result of souvenir and jewellery makers targeting them for their distinctively patterned and coloured shells. However the full monetary value of a hawksbill turtle is realised by keeping them alive. It is estimated that a live hawksbill is worth US$30,000 in tourism revenue to resort communities.