Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Hawksbill Turtles Thrive in Belizean Preserve

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Hawksbill Turtles Thrive in Belizean Preserve

Article excerpt

A new generation of threatened hawksbill sea turtles is thriving in the protected waters of Glover's Reef Atoll, Belize, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Belize Fisheries Department.

In a recently published study in the journal Endangered Species Research, scientists have reported that the coral reefs surrounding the atoll are home to more than 1,000 juvenile hawksbill sea turtles.

"This is extremely good news for this endangered species," said Virginia Burns Perez of the WCS. "Strongholds such as this one should become a model for other foraging and nesting areas that are important for the hawksbill turtle."

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Glover's Reef Atoll is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second-largest coral reef system in the Western Hemisphere. The Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, in particular, is important to both the fishing economy of Belize and the region's marine biodiversity. The hawksbill sea turtle was selected as one of several target species for conserving the larger seascape.

The newly published study is the result of field research between 2007 and 2013, during which 12 snorkel surveys on sea turtles were conducted in the coral reefs around Glover's Reef Atoll. …

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