Hawksbill turtle populations continue to decline, especially in southeast Asia, and have decreased more than 80% overall throughout the last 3 generations.
In many parts of the world, hawksbill turtle populations have continued to decline since the publication of the previous International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species assessment. Continuing losses in southeast Asia are of particular concern.
Although some relatively large populations still exist, especially in Australia, this is not inconsistent with long-term global or even regional population reduction over three generations, a point noted by the Subcommittee. Unlike previous reviews of the status of the hawksbill, the present assessment is quantitative and provides a numerical basis for the global listing of the species as “Critically Endangered”. The 2001 findings of the IUCN Red List Standards and Petitions Subcommittee are as valid today as they were six years ago.
Analysis of historic and recent published and unpublished accounts indicate extensive subpopulation declines in all major ocean basins over the last three hawksbill generations. Analyses of subpopulation changes at 25 Index Sites distributed globally show an 84 to 87% decline in number of mature females nesting annually over the last 3 hawksbill generations. Numerous populations, especially some of the larger ones, have continued to decline since the last assessment of the species.
Today, some protected populations are stable or increasing, but the overall decline of the species, when considered within the context of three generations, has been in excess of 80%.