Turtle Hotspots in U.S. and the World Identified in New Study

By Joshua Rapp Learn

Turtle A red-eared slider turtle lounges on a log. Researchers at Illinois State University plan to study the effects of BPA on this species of turtles.
Image Credit: VA State Park Staff

The area around Mobile Bay, Alabama and the deserts of North America are among the areas most diverse for turtle species in the world, according to new research.

Scientists looked at turtle species all over the world to pinpoint the areas that were best suited for the reptiles and came up with 16 of the so-called turtle hot spots, which they highlight in a study published in Chelonian Conservation and Biology.

“These regions host the many native species of tortoises and freshwater turtles,” according to a press release from the Chelonian Research Foundation that was involved with the study. “By focusing on such areas, conservationists can target preservation efforts where the greatest effects can be achieved.”

The study found 21 countries hosted 15 or more turtle and tortoise species. At least 18 species live in Mobile Bay while the deserts of North America harbor some of the richest turtle diversity in terms of wilderness areas in the world.

The research foundation believes that protecting these areas can bring about the greatest results for turtle conservation in general.

Joshua LearnJoshua Rapp Learn is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact him at jlearn@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about his article.

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