Visiting Costa Rica? Don’t buy Hawksbill Sea Turtle Jewelry!
As the Costa Rican tourism season begins in earnest this month, it’s important that visitors be conscious of ways to lessen the impact they will have on this country’s flora and fauna. One easy way to be a responsible traveler is to not buy trinkets made from illegal animal products, like artisan jewelry made from the shells of endangered hawksbill sea turtles.
The Spanish word for hawksbill is “carey”, pronounced “ka-RAY”. Attractive rings, bracelets, necklaces, combs, brushes, and other decorative pieces are often sold at jewelry stands along the coast as well as in San José. However, the sale of these products is illegal. Please have a look at the attached pictures of hawksbill jewelry and contribute to the conservation of this species of sea turtle buy not purchasing “artesanias de carey” and by telling others to do the same.
View a poster explaining the hawksbill’s life cycle, threats, and how you can help protect this species. In addition, the Caribbean sea turtle conservation non-profit Widecast can provide more information on the illegal capture and sale of carey, in addition to letting you know what you should do if you come across someone selling carey. Please contact Claudio Quesada for more information.
In November, officials from the Ministry of the Environment and Telecommunications (MINAET), along with representatives from Costa Rican NGOs Pretoma, the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, and Widecast, confiscated illegal jewelry made from endangered hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) shells for sale at the Christmas festival in Guadalupe. MINAET officials in street clothes and NGO members walked through the various temporary craft shops that line the barrio’s central park this holiday season, confirming that hawksbill rings and bracelets were for sale. After the shops were pinpointed, uniformed officials moved in and confiscated over 300 illegal hawksbill rings and several bracelets. A judge will rule on the individual cases and the jewelry will more than likely be destroyed.
Watch the confiscation video: