The SEE Shell App: Working to Save Endangered Turtles

The SEE Shell App: Working to Save Endangered Turtles

Over the last century, the hawksbill turtle population has declined by 80%. As a result of the decline of the turtles, SEE Turtles has decided to create a new app to change and help the population of critically endangered hawksbill turtles.

 The sale of tortoiseshell is prohibited in 45 countries around the world including the United States, according to the Seven Seas Media. However, global tortoiseshell reports find that illegal domestic trade is still active in 40 countries, despite the illegal ban.

According to the Global Tortoiseshell Trade Map,’ some of the countries involved in trading heavily in tortoiseshell include China, Japan, and Singapore.

Tortoiseshell is a natural material that exclusively comes from hawksbill turtles. According to NOAA Fisheries, the tortoise shell is a “beautiful piece” coming from the shell of only certain turtles, and “hawksbill turtles have mottled shells consisting of an irregular combination of shades of amber, orange, red, yellow, black and brown.” This piece is typically used to make different types of jewelry and trinkets. As a result, more than nine million hawksbill turtles have died. Brad Nahil, co-founder and president of SEE Turtles, partnered up with associates from the Smithsonian OCIO Data Science Lab to help create a new app called SEE Shells. The app is used to find out whether a photo of a tortoiseshell pattern is natural or fake. This helps customers seeking this decoration determine whether their turtle shell is real or fake, ensuring that citizens could make an impact on this problem by buying artificial shells instead of real ones.

The app can help people become conscientious about what they purchase. “The app is also valuable for the wealth of information it can provide,” says National Geographic. The app also showcases information about any turtle product customers purchase through the patterns found on the turtle shells. This will slow down the purchase of any real shells on the market.

  The app is free and can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app rates five stars on the Apple App Store. On the Google Play Store, the app has over 100+ installs. 

According to SEE Shell, By using the app, you will not only be able to avoid buying these products that are illegal in most places, but you’ll also contribute to studying the trade and identifying hotspots for these products.”