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‘Help us save the hawksbill’


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DIRECTOR OF public education and awareness at the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, Carla Daniel, is calling on Barbados to help keep turtles safe.

She was speaking at the launch of an art exhibition, entitled Saving The Sea Turtles, hosted by the Argentina embassy in Hastings, Christ Church, last Saturday.

“It has gotten to a point where they are struggling . . . . People would capture turtles and use them as ornaments and decorations. They would use them for food. The shell of the hawksbill turtle would have been used as they would have been killed and the shell exported to Japan. There would have been a huge market and that is why the hawksbill is critically endangered,” she said to the more than 150 guests.

She added that Barbados had something very special in the second largest nesting population of hawksbill turtles in the wider Caribbean region.

Odds of survival

“Our population is basically propping the species up. This is a species . . . critically endangered – 90 per cent of the population is gone. All of the hawksbills on the earth represent ten per cent of the population that existed . . . .

“In Barbados they are slowly increasing, that is true, but worldwide not so much. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project in 2015 rescued over 68 000 hatchlings. That sounds like a huge number, but because of the odds and the survival rate, out of that 68 000 hatchlings, it’s quite possible that only six or seven would survive to sexual maturity which is 25 to 30 years,” she revealed.

The activist said in order for turtles to replace themselves, they needed to reach the age of maturity (25 to 30 years) and nest for about ten years.