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Endangered hawksbill sea turtle calmly swims over the reef with young scuba diver

Hawksbill sea turtles are possibly the most beautiful of all the sea turtles. Their shells are strikingly ornate, which is why they were hunted to near extinction not long ago. Their shells were sought for hairbrushes and ornaments, and their meat was being consumed at an unsustainable rate. The turtles were pushed to the edge of their ability to survive. Fortunately, a change in laws, as well as strong conservation efforts have seen the turtle populations starting to rebound. But seeing one in the wild is still considered a very lucky thing and scuba divers particularly enjoy these sightings. Hawksbills are usually shy and they will often swim away from people. But this turtle is surprisingly relaxed with Serena, a young scuba diver who has a certain way with animals. Even though Serena has been diving only a few years, her enthusiasm has more than made up for the shorter time that she has been involved in the sport. She has explored the reefs of Mexico, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Belize, and the Galapagos Islands several times. In this time, she has come to understand the animals very well, along with the need to approach them respectfully. He slow and careful approach will often allow her to gain the trust of the animals, which presents a better opportunity to see the creatures up close and to enjoy a safe interaction on their own terms.

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