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Police seize jewelry made from endangered turtles’ shells

May 1, 2014

Rings, earrings, combs and bracelets are among the items seized by officials from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) during an Easter Holy Week crackdown on wildlife trafficking. The 82 pieces of jewelry were made from the shells of endangered hawksbill turtles, a violation of the country’s Wildlife Law.

According to a press release from SINAC, officials found the jewelry for sale along a stretch of coastline in Puntarenas popular with souvenir-seeking tourists. A marine biologist confirmed that the jewelry was made of hawksbill shells and valued the pieces at ₡300,000 ($550).

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the hawksbill sea turtle has been critically endangered since 1996. Known for its multi-colored shell, the hawksbill has long been hunted by craftsmen for jewelery. The turtles can be spotted on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast from July to October, and on the Pacific coast from July to September.

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