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May 2021

News and Resources

PRESS RELEASE: Threat to Critically Endangered Hawksbill Turles: Japan’s Involvement in the Illegal Tortoiseshell Trade
659 723 Japan Tiger Elephant Organization

May 31, 2021 TOKYO—WWF, TRAFFIC and Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) released today a report: ”SHELL SHOCKED: JAPAN’S ROLE IN THE ILLEGAL TORTOISESHELL TRADE”. It reveals that recently the tortoiseshell of hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), has been increasingly smuggled into Japan. This active market in Japan of tortoiseshell crafts, called “Bekko craft” is contributing to the illegal international trade. Hawksbill turtles are one of the seven species of marine turtles and are listed as “Critically Endangered” (CR) in the IUCN Red List, After World War II, Japan grew to be the largest country importing tortoiseshell equivalent to tens of thousands of hawksbills every year. Japan bowed to international pressure and officially stopped importing hawksbill tortoiseshell in 1993, when more…

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