DNA Technology To Help The Fight Against Hawksbill Sea Turtle Poaching

Sea turtle products are sold illegally around the world and are still today a threat to species like the Hawksbill.

Researchers will use DNA technology to try to stop the illegal poaching of hawsksbill turtles for use in tortoiseshell products.

The population of the critically endangered species has declined by more than 75% in the Pacific Ocean in the past century and a key threat to the species’ survival is illegal trade.

Hawksbills are the only sea turtles hunted for their shells, despite international trade in hawksbill products being banned more than 20 years ago.

Scientists and researchers from WWF and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US have begun a three-year project that will trace tortoiseshell products such as earrings and bracelets sold in market stalls and specialty shops back to where they were poached.

They’ll do this by DNA-testing both products and live turtles throughout the Asia-Pacific region to create a DNA map that will pinpoint where the turtles had come from and identify the hawksbill populations most at risk.

Read Full Story: The Guardian/Lisa Cox

Photo: USFWS/Wikimedia Commons

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