The Hawksbill turtle is easy to identify as it has a very distinctive sharp curving beak much like a hawk. The boney plates of the shell are streaked with amber, yellow and brown.
To the Taino Indians in the Turks and Caicos Islands, turtles were an important food item. Nowadays turtles are more often promoted as a tourist attraction.
The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands has adopted new conservation plans for sea turtles that will protect mature adults so they can breed, and reverse population declines.
Restrictions have been put into place and it is illegal for fishermen to kill turtles with shells over 60 cm or under 45 cm.
In some countries the shell is still used to make hair ornaments, jewelry, and other decorative items and therefore they are on the critically endangered list.
Look for the Hawksbill turtle as you snorkel the coral reefs and waters of the Turks and Caicos on your next island vacation.