Too Rare To Wear

If you’ve gone shopping for accessories such as sunglasses or hair clips in the last 40 years, you are probably familiar with the ‘tortoiseshell’ pattern – mottled black and brown markings.  The original tortoiseshell products were made from the shells of hawksbill sea turtles.  Poaching and commercial exploitation of the turtles were among the most significant factors in the decline of the hawksbill population.



Hawksbill sea turtle, Palm Beach County, FL. Photo: Alan Egan


Hawksbills, named for their ‘raptor-like’ beak, are well known for the distinct colors and patterns on their shells.  Unlike other sea turtle species, their carapace (top shell) is comprised of overlapping scutes (keratinized scales) which historically, have been used to make jewelry, jewelry boxes, combs, and other small, decorative items.  Although the international trade of hawksbill items was halted in 1973 due to CITES, the products are still being sold in markets across Latin America and the Caribbean today.



Hawksbill sea turtle, Palm Beach County, FL. Photo: Alan Egan


The Too Rare To Wear campaign was developed to promote education and help eliminate the demand for turtle shell products by bringing conservation organizations, media partners, and tour operators together.  Loggerhead Marinelife Center is proud to join this coalition of conservation partners to share the educational message and assist with the global protection of hawksbill turtles.

For more information on the project, check out this video.

Take an active role in conservation by signing and sharing the pledge.

Please contact LMC’s Conservation Department with any questions.

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