1000 Flowers for the Planet - #254 Discourage Tortoise Shell Trade
It seems to be mankind’s love for beautiful things that in the end causes so much destruction. For centuries the hawksbill sea turtle has been killed for its magnificent shell but over ‘harvesting’ of these lovely creatures has now put them on the critically endangered list. Bans on trading in shell have been put into place since the 1970s but there are still some countries throughout the world that continue illicit trade in high numbers.
The issue is not a straightforward one (none of them are). This trade deeply involves a tradition in Japan whereby artisans create magnificent items from bekko (hawksbill shell). This has been part of their culture for centuries. I’m not a proponent of destroying culture, anyone’s culture, so that makes this yet another one of those difficult issues we really need to face and resolve, somehow, with some mutual respect. How do we manage to save a creature from extinction without people losing their livelihoods, or their traditions? But the hawksbill turtle population has been decreased, due to humans, by 90% in the last century. So here’s the bottom line – if the situation continues the way it has been, both the hawksbill turtle AND the bekko artisans of Japan will be completely extinct. It’s time we ‘got it’. Our actions have consequences.
What do we do? Raise awareness, educate ourselves, condemn illegal traders, collaborate to find sustainable solutions – read more about this issue at [http://www.conserveturtles.org/velador.php?page=velart71].