Curiosities,  Dominican Republic

The spectacular Hawksbill turtle

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Scientific: Eretmochelys imbricata L.
Maaya t’aan: Áak (tortuga, en general; turtle, in general)
English: Hawksbill turtle

Description: This sea turtle is relatively small, with a shell that does not normally exceed one meter (40 inches) in length. It has a variety of features that distinguish it from other species found locally: a curved, pointed beak; two claws clearly visible on its front fins; and an amber-colored shell with dark streaks and toothed edges.

Habitat: This species does not nest on local beaches, but juveniles can be observed in the sea nearby, feeding on the coral reefs.

Threats: Hunting for consumption of its meat, eggs and shell; the destruction of reef systems that supply the sponges and other invertebrates that constitute its diet.

Uses and beliefs: The consumption of its meat and eggs; the manufacture of crafts from its shell, commonly called “tortoise shell” in English

How to protect it: Avoid bothering them when found in the sea; avoid purchasing any products made from their shells, or their eggs or meat; do not bring or throw plastic waste—especially bags and drinking straws—into the ocean; promote the protection of the reefs, including the invertebrates that inhabit them.

Where the observe it: In coral reefs, is currently listed as a species “in critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

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