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Sea Turtles

Hawksbill turtle 08.15.2012 buyer beware

Hawksbill turtles live on coral reefs where their favourite food, sponges, are most plentiful.

GuitarUnbelievable! A guitar made from what looks like a sea turtle shell. What's up with that?

Music is the international language that everyone can enjoy. The instruments used to make music vary from culture to culture, but they are all fairly similar. The materials used to make these instruments are similar also. Wood, plastic and metal are the typical materials used to make instruments. But some more unusual items like gourds that have been dried and hollowed out, or even parts of animals are used.

In this case you have come across a guitar made from the shell of a sea turtle. Many countries have found many uses for turtles -- especially for their shells. Turtle shell products can come in a variety of forms: instruments like rattles and guitars, jewelry, ashtrays, you name it, it's probably being sold. And turtle leather is fashioned into items like boots and wallets.

But sea turtles are endangered because of overexploitation, illegal trade, and destruction of their nesting beaches. Despite regulations and an international trade ban through CITES, poaching and illegal trade is still taking place.

So while traveling abroad be weary of any product that could have been made from sea turtles. When in doubt, walk on by!