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Turtles in Trouble: The World’s 25+ Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles—2011

July 29, 2011 Comments off

Turtles in Trouble: The World’s 25+ Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles—2011 (PDF)
Source: World Conservation Society

Turtles are in serious trouble. They are among the world’s most endangered vertebrates, with about half of their more than 300 species threatened with extinction. We commonly hear about the plight of other animal groups; however, turtles are much more at risk of impending extinction than birds, mammals, amphibians, or sharks and rays, and paralleled among the larger vertebrate groups only by the primates (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2010, www.iucnredlist.org, Hoffmann et al. 2010).

Turtles throughout the world are being impacted by a variety of major threats, to which many are gradually succumbing. They are being collected, traded, and eaten or otherwise used, in overwhelming numbers. They are used for food, pets, traditional medicine—eggs, juveniles, adults, body parts—all are exploited indiscriminately, with little regard for sustainability. On top of the targeted onslaught, their habitats are being increasingly fragmented, destroyed, developed, and polluted. Populations are shrinking nearly everywhere. Species worldwide are threatened and vulnerable, many are critically endangered, others teeter on the very brink of extinction, and a few have already been lost forever, with eight species and two subspecies having gone extinct since 1500 AD (see table, p. 5).

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