10 Endangered Species Of Turtles

10 Endangered Species Of Turtles

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, of 212 turtle speciesevaluated, eight are now extinct, more than 70 are endangered, and another hundred are at risk of decline. “Their decline is an indicator that the freshwater ecosystems that millions of people rely on for irrigation, food and water are being damaged in a manner that could have dire consequences for people and turtles alike.” If we don’t act now to protect the habitats that support these creatures and take stronger action to tackle both the international and domestic markets in these animals for pets and food we stand a very real chance that we will lose them forever,” said Dr Peter Paul van Dijk, Director of Conservation International’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program, in a statement.

Red River Giant Soft Shell Turtle

The Red River giant soft shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) may be the rarest and most threatened of all turtles, in addition to one of the largest – only four individuals are known remaining alive in the world. Two adults in captivity in China have mated without reproducing. A lone animal in Hoan Keim lake in downtown Hanoi is considered a symbol of Vietnam’s independence, and the fourth remaining member of the species lives in a wetland west of Hanoi.

Red Crowned River Turtle

Red Crowned River Turtle (Batagur kachuga) – historically widespread throughout the great rivers of northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal, intensive egg collection, capture of adults for consumption, dams, and river pollution impacted it so badly that there’s only a single viable population left, in the ‘unholy’ Chambal River of central India. Males remain much smaller than females and color spectacularly for courtship season.

Myanmar River Turtle

The Myanmar River Turtle, Batagur trivittata, is listed as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, but recent analysis suggests that it is now ‘critically endangered’. Females reach 58 cm in shell length, and mature males develop a spectacular breeding-season colouration, becoming silvery white with black stripes on the shell, with a black face mask over a lime-green head. The eggs of these last animals have been protected in recent years and the juveniles are being raised at Mandalay Zoo for re-introduction.

Roti Snake Necked Turtle

Discovered on the small Indonesian island of Roti in 1994, it was immediately in great demand for the pet trade in America, Europe and Japan, and the species was collected into near-extinction by 2000. Captive breeding for re-introduction is slow and a long-term prospect at best.

Central America River Turtle

The Central American River Turtle survived the age of dinosaurs but is now at risk of being eaten to death by humans. Its prized meat is hunted from remote wetlands and served during religious celebrations. The turtle, one of nearly 350 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises found around the world, is apparently so “floppy” that it has a hard time leaving the water, preferring to nest under the surface during floods, according to Conservation International.

Yunnan Box Turtle

The Yunnan Box Turtle is a species of turtle in the family Geoemydidae. It is believed to be endemic to China (Yunnan) and was suspected to be extinct since the early 20th century; the last verified specimen was collected in 1940. In 2007, He et al. sampled the three living specimens and gave the genetic proof that all three living specimens are indeed Cuora yunnanensis and not hybrids. The distribution of this species remains unclear, but due to its value, it is heavily sought after. Protection measures are needed to save this probably highly endangered species from its return onto the IUCN list of extinct animals.

Southeast Asian Giant Soft Shell Turtle

One of the largest turtles in the world, the Southeast Asian Giant Soft Shell Turtle can weigh up to a quarter of a ton. The behemoth can be found in two small rivers in western Thailand, according to Conservation International’s new report on the fate of freshwater tortoises and turtles. Dams, pollution, and hunting plague the species, as well as runoff from riverside farms that clouds the water, making it hard for the turtle to find prey. Erosion from farming and deforestation threatens other turtle species, as do invasive species.

Bog Turtle

This tiny—usually four-inch—turtle burrows in the mud to find worms, slugs, and grubs. More than 95 percent of its marsh and meadow habitat has been converted to farmland, according to Conservation International. Only a few scattered populations remain from New York to Tennessee.

Annam Pond Turtle

The Annam Pond Turtle is found only in select central Vietnamese wetlands. Harvested for Chinese markets in the 1990s, just a handful remain in the wild. Turtles help maintain wetlands by spreading seeds and eating vegetation, insects, snails, and dead animals. Most species live up to nearly 60 years, reaching maturity after 10 to 15.

Coahuila Box Turtle

Coahuila Box Turtle Terrapene coahuila,– All other box turtles (so named because the two halves of the lower shell can raise up and close off the shell like a box) are mostly land-living, but this species from the semi-desert of northern Mexico has gone back to living permanently in freshwater – in its case the springs and marshes of Cuatro Cienegas, a desert oasis complex under significant threat from desiccation through groundwater pumping for agriculture and residential use, as well as agricultural land conversion within the Cuatro Cienegas basin.

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