Love The Hawksbill Turtle
This 29-year-old turtle may be the smallest of the turtle species but he is an important one. His favourite food is the toxic sponges that, when unchecked, can take over the reefs. He loves cruising around, pulling them out with his pointed beak from between the coral and rocks. But even though he is so helpful, humans like to take him. He has a very beautiful shell which they also love, turning it into fancy trinkets for themselves. He wishes they would stop, they’re going to wipe out all of his kind soon.
One of the smallest and most endangered species of turtle in the world, the hawksbill turtle is a living representation of reptiles who have swum through the seas of planet earth for the last 100 million years. Today, they swim around the world’s tropical oceans feeding on sponges that are toxic to many other animals, making them a crucial part of the ocean's ecosystem. Using their narrow, pointed beak they can reach into deep crevices in the reefs to fish the spongy snacks. But they also like sea anemones and jellyfish.
Turtles have a very hands-off approach to raising their young. A mother will leave the sea for the safety of the beach, digging a hole to lay her eggs in before covering them back up and heading back to the water. She can lay from 60-200 eggs each season but an average clutch is 140. The eggs stay warm and hidden for around 2 months before they hatch. The babies instinctively start crawling across the sand towards the water, using the reflection of the moon as their guide. They must reach the water before the sun rises or they will be a target for many predators.
This beautiful turtle is the most endangered turtle species of them all. Their gorgeous shells with their beautiful brown and gold pattern, also known as “tortoiseshell” is highly sought after by humans and illegally sold on the black market. They are used for ornaments, jewellery, and are traditionally used in Japan for wedding dresses. They are also caught up in gillnets and fishing hooks, known as bycatch, drowning them when they cannot get to the surface to breathe. Like all other turtles, they are also threatened by loss of nesting and feeding sites, excessive egg collection, pollution, and coastal development.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/SOURCES