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  • Writer's pictureQuite Frankly

The Hawksbill Turtle

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

The Hawksbill turtle is considered to be critically endangered with a population of about 10,000 in the world. They are mostly found in the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. Their diet contains sea sponges, shrimp, jellyfish, sea anemones, coral reefs etc. I was drawn to this turtle because of its gorgeous shell and its unique bird-like mouth. This turtle's main reason for being endangered is because they are being hunted for their shells. Their shell are being used as decorative pieces, jewelry, etc. I found it sad that these turtles are at risk for being extinct because their shells are wanted for useless purposes. They are also endangered because of the consumption of their eggs that are eaten around the world and the loss of their habitat. The Hawksbills turtle lays about 130 -150 eggs. In order to hatch these eggs, it returns to the place where it once hatched and buries the eggs in the sand. It takes about 60 days for the hatchlings to emerge for the ground but many die very quickly in the short journey to the ocean. This is because crabs and seagulls attack/eat them before they even make it to the water. Sadly, the eggs are also eaten by humans despite being endangered and their flesh is haunted as well. Climate change has had a drastic effect on their survival making the ability to find a safely place to live very slim. There are many factors going against this beautiful animal as they remain on the long list of endangered species.

When thinking about how I would create this animal out of waste/recyclable material, it was important that I have a shape and features of the body correct so it would be recognizable. I drew out many different forms of the body and tried to visualized how the items I've collected kind be manipulated in a way that would represent this turtle.

I experimented with water bottles, lotion bottles, paper plates etc. but none stood out to me. It wasn't until I was washing my hands with the brand of soap, Softsoap, that I realized the shape of the bottle was the ideal roundness to begin creating my turtle. Luckily, we had just thrown away a bottle so I was able to take it out of the recycle and incorporate it into my prototype. First, I took the top for the pump off and glue it sideways so that when the bottle is laid flat it would point forward, resembling the head.

Next, I made the shell out of cotton, a paper plate and some masking tape. The cotton help to elevate the plate off of the body (soap bottle) to give that desired turtle-like characteristic. Then I added the mesh part of an onion bag around the plate that was covering the cotton and covered the bottom portion with a reusable green grocery bag for color and uniformity. The rim of the paper plate was cut off and reattach to the edges of the turtle so that it would form to the shape of the body and give a slight lip or indentation similar to the edges of the actual turtle.

The feet and head covering were made from plastic knives and spoons. I found that the curvature of the knives reminded me of the way their fins/claws moved through the water. Lastly, I used old Mardi Gras beads to decorate the shell of the turtle. Since this was one of the main reasons why they were endangered, I thought it was important to highlight this feature. The Mardi Gras beads were very shiny and fit well in the shapes created by the onion bag mesh. It easily caught someone's attention which was the main point. Some other small touches I made were melting the spoon a bit to narrow out the mouth for the distinct feature of a hawk's beak.

The materials I use for this assignment were, plastic knives and spoons, a Softsoap soap bottle, Mardi Gras beads, cotton, a reusable grocery bag, a paper plate, the mesh of an onion bag, masking tape, and a glue gun. Each material had a purpose, even down to the mesh that represents not only the patterns on the shell but the fishing net that they unintentionally get caught in when fishermen are at sea. In the end, this model really captures the essence and my interpretation of the Hawksbill Turtle.

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