Last week, we were called by residents of Cook’s Bay in Moorea following the discovery of a hawksbill turtle found floating in the lagoon. When we arrived, this adult turtle of 62.5cm for 23.5kg was unfortunately dead due to head injuries created by a a speargun arrow impact.
Hawksbill turtles whose nesting sites are unknown in Polynesia are particularly threatened worldwide. This species has been listed on the IUCN “Critically Endangered” red list since 1996. With a reproductive age between 20 and 40 years, its late sexual maturity contributes to its depletion.
It should be noted that cases of death following the ingestion of its flesh have been reported in Polynesia. The consumption of particularly toxic sea sponges by hawksbill turtles could be the reason.
* Sea turtle care center authorized by the Direction of the Environment of French Polynesia