"The raw shells of these turtles, that have been beheaded, are making their way into shipments into China," Godfrey said, and China is one of the countries with the highest demand for the product. "I have heard that the most beautifully worked artisan products from hawksbill shell can be as valuable as gold ... It's similar to ivory."
It isn't just the hawksbill sea turtle who is under siege. All kinds of sea turtles are under threat because of their shells - and even their meat.
"All species of sea turtles, including hawksbills, are under constant assault for their shells which are turned into souvenirs, jewelry and other items often sold to unwitting tourists," Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, told The Dodo, pointing out that turtle meat is also a culinary delicacy in many countries. "No one should partake in this massive carnage that threatens the long-term viability of the species. International wildlife trade is about more than elephant ivory and rhino horn."