Photographic Identification (Photo-ID)
"Every scale tells a tale!"
How does it work?
Each sea turtle has their own unique arrangement of scales on their head and flippers (like a fingerprint), so they can be monitored over time simply by photographing them. This is a very non-invasive way of learning a lot about them.
Some have only been seen once, but we have “known” many of these hawksbills for years. You can learn about each one by clicking on their name (coming soon).
You will significantly contribute to this research by emailing your photographs directly, or by sending us links to online sightings (social media or other websites you come across).
You can match your photographs yourself too, by comparing your photos to each hawksbill, arranged by island. Please keep in mind that:
If your sighting is confirmed to be a new hawksbill to the catalog, you get the opportunity to name it!
You will always receive photo credit if your photo is used.
Your name will be listed under the "Sighted By" category in each hawksbill's profile that you submit photos of.
You can choose to receive our "Hawaiian Hawksbill Happenings" e-newsletters to keep you up-to-date, or just be contacted if your hawksbill is re-sighted.
All unique individuals are given numbers and names to monitor them over time. We've seen some over 100 times each, and one for a 18-year timespan!
• Pelagic Phase
• Adult Females (Untagged)
• Adult Females (Tagged)
• Adult Males
All of the Main Hawaiian Islands
• See the "Meet the Turtles" island-specific pages for complete information, but most of the sightings are from Maui (where I live).
• Our "Hawaiian Hawksbill Hui" is a statewide network of government agencies, conservation NGOs plus concerned community members. Join us!
• I can't thank everyone enough for contributing so much to this project over the years!
Want to help spread the word about hawksbills?
Here's a 5x7 postcard that can be printed and distributed to people all around Hawai`i: