International trade in the hawksbill turtle is banned amongst signatory nations by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3), but extensive illegal trafficking still occurs between CITES signatories and among other nations. Preventing this black market trade is the key to saving this species and TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring arm of WWF and IUCN-World Conservation Union) is involved in monitoring and highlighting this problem (13). In 1988, the government of the Seychelles took a very public stand against tortoiseshell trade by burning a stockpile of seized shells (4), in a manner reminiscent of burning ivory pyres in Kenya. Action to save the world's turtles is being taken by many international bodies and recent increases in hawksbill nesting populations have been observed at a few well-protected sites (10). With successful monitoring of populations and a decrease in illegal trade, the hawksbill may respond well to long-term protection.
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