The Survival of Wild Species
Chapter 8: The hawksbill turtle – its conservation and use: public values, attitudes and policies
In previous chapters in this part of the book, the evaluation of the conservation of mammals has been the focus of attention. This chapter (and the next) now consider the conservation of reptile species. This chapter focuses on the conservation of the hawksbill turtle (like most turtles, a well-liked species) and the next on the saltwater crocodile, a mostly disliked species. Apart from assessing existing knowledge of these species, their likeability and the stated willingness of individuals to pay for their conservation, these chapters examine attitudes of members of the public to the sustainable commercial use of these reptiles. This is done because the Convention on Biological Diversity (in contrast to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) portrays the commercial use of wild species as an effective means to promote their conservation. This policy is, however, not always supported by members of the general public, even though it can sometimes be a successful measure for conserving some wildlife species as is evidenced (see next chapter) by the conservation of the saltwater crocodile in the Northern Territory of Australia. However, as will become clear in this chapter, there is little public support for adopting a similar policy to conserve the hawksbill turtle. The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered since 1996 (Mortimer and Donnelly, 2008). This classification signals that the species is on the brink of extinction in the wild.
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