Wildlife | Animals

Turtles Are Dying So You Can Buy Jewelry

If you'll recall, live animal keychains exist.

A tiny sea creature is sealed in a plastic bag with muggy glitter water and used an accessory until it dies, basically. The theory is that you free the animal after a couple days, but rarely anyone does.

But what you might not know is that it's not just the keychains that are killing animals (specifically turtles.) It's also your souvenir bracelet from the Caribbean.

Tortoiseshell patterned items are in high-demand right now, but in America it's the replication of the pattern onto a piece of plastic.

In Central America and the Caribbean? It's real hawksbill sea turtle, and it's causing the real extinction of the species.

Hawksbill turtles are one of the most beautiful creatures in the sea, but their population is declining at an alarming rate. They help to keep coral reefs thriving and growing, and now all of that is at risk because people like the way they look.

If you are on a tropical vacation, you've probably seen these souvenirs at every vendor. They may look like plastic, but the shell is very real.

The turtles are captured, killed, and striped of their shells which then get polished and shaped into bracelets, earrings, sunglasses, or whatever else people will buy.

Continue to the next page to find out how you can end this awful tradition.

"Too Rare To Wear" is an activist group who are trying to end the practice of harming Hawksbill sea turtles just to make souvenirs.

They have a pledge online which indicates how you, too, can help save the sea turtles.

"When traveling in Latin America and the Caribbean, I pledge to shop carefully at souvenir shops and look for and avoid any products made of turtleshell, including bracelets, earrings, rings, guitar picks, combs, and fans.

When I find turtleshell for sale, I will let the vendors know that I only purchase from stores that are turtle-friendly.

Instead, I will look for and purchase locally-made and eco-friendly products.

And I will encourage my friends and family to avoid turtleshell products and share this campaign with them."

If you would like to sign the pledge, you can do so here.