Global numbers are very difficult to estimate but it appears that this turtle has suffered drastic decline, probably by as much as 80 percent over the last century (1) (8). Major threats to survival come from illegal trade in the turtle's prized shell, known as tortoiseshell, which has been sought for jewellery and ornaments for centuries. There is also a substantial market for eggs, meat and even stuffed juveniles as exotic gifts in some parts of the world (11). Additional pressure on the global population comes from harvests to support traditional customs, the loss of nesting sites, accidental entanglement in fishing lines and the deterioration of coral reef systems which act as feeding sites for these turtles (12).
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