Join a baby Hawksbill sea turtle on its journey over the reef

WildCreaturesPublished: November 15, 2017Updated: November 16, 2017196 views
Published: November 15, 2017Updated: November 16, 2017

Hawksbill Turtles are a critically endangered species. To see one swimming gracefully over the reef is a rare and memorable treat for scuba divers. It is even more memorable to see one so young and so comfortable with people as this one.

Divers in the Cayman Islands were making their way over the coral reef when this very young Hawksbill descended from the surface and began swimming along near them as it looked for corals and sponges to eat. Sea turtles breath air and must make regular trips to the surface to take a breath before slipping back beneath the waves. They are able to hold their breath for half an hour quite easily.
Enjoy a rare view of this magnificent creature as it glides among the corals and sea fans in search of a meal. The crystal clear water provides a gorgeous blue backdrop.

Hawksbill turtles are dwindling in numbers, with only 15,000 egg laying females left in the wild. Named for their narrow head and bird-like beak, they eat mainly sponges. Their beaks are designed for reaching into crevices for food. They will occasionally eat small fish, mollusks and jellyfish.

Hawksbill Turtles can lay up to 200 eggs in a clutch and they nest 2-8 times per season. But predation of the eggs and harvesting by humans threatens their survival.

The turtles have also been over harvested for their shells and for human consumption. Huge numbers of these beautiful turtles are caught in nets as bycatch.

With a survival rate of one per cent, very few Hawksbills will reach sexual maturity.

The good news is that people are better understanding the crucial role that sea turtles play in marine ecosystems and general health of the oceans. With more efforts being made to promote conservation and reduce mortality, it is possible that it is not too late to save the sea turtles.

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