A newly hatched baby turtle makes its way into the ocean.
Solomon Islands A newly hatched baby turtle makes its way into the ocean. © Tim Calver for The Nature Conservancy

From the moment a baby sea turtle is born, its chances of survival are sadly slim: a hatchling must make a precarious journey from beach nest to sea within its first waking moments, dodging hungry birds, crabs, and other natural predators. Once in the ocean, a hatchling must still contend with being seen as tender prey by dozens of other creatures like sharks, octopus and crocodiles. The odds of a hatchling reaching adulthood are remote: just 1 in about 1,000 do, even under the best of circumstances.

But humans have made sea turtle survival even more difficult, and five of the world’s seven species are now endangered. Hawksbills in particular have been hunted for 2,500 years by poachers pursuing their beautiful shells that are made into tortoiseshell combs, eyeglasses, trinkets, and more. Modern threats like destructive fishing gear, accidental capture, sea level rise, coral bleaching and environmental pollution are only making the Hawksbill’s extinction more likely every year. Today’s population of Hawksbill sea turtles is less than 10 percent of what it was a century ago, making them in critical danger of extinction.

To bring back these important sea creatures, TNC has built relationships with local communities in the Arnavon Islands, Solomon Islands to: