More than half of turtle species in the world face extinction

An endangered hawksbill (Eritmochelys imbricate) sea turtle. New research finds that half of the turtle species and subspecies in the world may face extinction. Credit: Caroline S. Rogers/NOAA

More than half of the nearly 500 species and subspecies of turtles and tortoises in the world are threatened with extinction. According to a review published recently in Current Biology, this makes these reptiles one of the vertebrate groups with the highest extinction risk, and many species could blink out before the end of the century. Authors of the study said that problems such as habitat loss as well as poaching turtle eggs and turtles for food, products for traditional medicine or the pet trade are among the major contributes of turtle and tortoise decline.

Read the study at Current Biology.