Royal Caribbean Group and WWF-Australia have been working together to better protect the hawksbill turtle from the illegal turtle trade

WWF-Australia & Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) are working together to protect the hawksbill turtle from the illegal turtle trade by ending demand for tortoiseshell products, breaking the supply chain and better protecting them in the places they call home. Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered, hunted and traded for their beautiful shell. With the support of RCL, and for the first time in Asia-Pacific, WWF will work in collaboration to use groundbreaking technology to extract DNA from tortoiseshell products. As part of a coordinated network, we will help build a DNA database to help identify hawksbill populations most at risk from the illegal tortoiseshell trade by tracing hawksbills products from sale to where they were poached. WWF-Australia will also work alongside scientists and local communities to better understand not only where these turtles are being taken, but how this trade is being driven. This will allow collaborative work with local communities, stakeholders and governments to implement effective zero poaching practices and policies to help end the trade. WWF-Australia will work together with RCL to drive awareness of the trade with Australian travellers. Through educating the millions of passengers and staff who cruise the Asia-Pacific each year about the illegal turtle trade, we can equip tourists with the right knowledge to help them make informed choices when buying souvenirs abroad.


Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered, hunted and traded for their shell. Ending this trade will take a coordinated effort. We are extremely passionate about this partnership with WWF-Australia, and acting now to ensure these prehistoric sea creatures have a future.

Susan Bonner

VP and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean Australia & NZ

Partnership wins

Beginning in 2016, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and WWF have been in a global partnership focussing on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans. Working with WWF-US, RCL have set ambitious and measurable 2020 environmental sustainability targets for the company globally that will; reduce Royal Caribbean’s environmental footprint, support WWF’s global oceans conservation work, and raise awareness among the company’s more than five million passengers about the importance of ocean conservation.

The bottom line

Globally, WWF has been working successfully on the conservation of the world’s most iconic species for over 50 years. WWF works in partnership with a variety of organisations, communities and individuals to protect those endangered species most in need.

The threats to hawksbills are common to other sea turtles, namely the loss of nesting and feeding habitats, excessive egg collection, fishery-related mortality, pollution and coastal development. However, by far the greatest threat to this species is the illegal trade.

Hawksbill turtles have significant ecological benefits, cultural significance and economic value in tropical communities. Residents of the Coral Triangle for example rely on the flow of visitors, who come to admire turtles, as a vital source of income.

Together, we can work for the conservation of our world’s most threatened and endangered species, restore their habitats, protect them from destruction and win the fight against extinction.

Species supported by Royal Caribbean Cruises