This turtle was listed as endangered on June 2, 1970. The current estimation of this species' population is unknown, but scientists do know that they are not reproducing enough to be lifted from the endangered list. Their status has not changed since they were first listed endangered 30 years ago.
There is an estimation of a minimum of 15,000 - 25,000 annual females nesting in more than 60 countries. Hawksbill Turtles live around the Torres Straits, in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Australia, Persian Gulf islands, and Oman. There are about 800 - 1,000 females forming their nest every year in Papua New Guinea, Queensland, and western Australia. In Indonesia there are more than 1,000 females nesting. The largest known nesting colony in the world is located in Queensland, Australia.
The reason why these turtles are declining in number is because of commercial exploitations. People hunt them for their shells, and other parts to make leather, oil, perfume, and cosmetics.
The Hawksbill Turtle is a small to medium sized sea turtle. In the United States, and the Caribbean, nesting females average about 24 - 36 inches (62-91cm) in length. In the Caribbean they weigh, on an average, around 176 pounds (80kg). The largest recorded Hawksbill weighed 280 pounds (127kg). Hatchlings are about 2 inches (42mm) in length and weigh about .5 - .7 ounces (13.5-19.5g).
These turtles have 2 pairs of prefrontal scales, thick overlapping scutes on the posterior and the carapace, 4 pairs of costal scutes, 2 claws on each flipper, and a beak-like mouth. The carapace is heart-shaped in very young turtles. The body elongates as they mature.