Twenty-one of the species occur in 11 of the world's 25 biodiversity hotspots, areas which house the greatest number of species yet face the most severe threats.
Critical to the turtles' survival, the TCF statement said, will be protection of these hotspots where small populations still remain: Indo-Burma, Sundaland, the Philippines, Wallacea, Succulent Karoo, Cape Floristic Region, Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands, Mediterranean Basin, Southwestern Australia, Choco-Darien-Western Ecuador, and Mesoamerica.
"Turtles have been around since before many dinosaurs walked the planet and have survived relatively unchanged for about 250 million years," said CI President Russell Mittermeier. "But mankind's actions have brought them to the brink of extinction. It's our responsibility to bring them back."
The 25 Most Endangered Turtles
River terrapin (Batagur baska), Southeast Asia
Burmese roofed turtle (Kachuga trivittata), Myanmar
Striped narrow-headed softshell turtle (Chitra chitra), Southeast Asia
Vietnam leaf turtle (Mauremys annamensis), Vietnam
Roti snake-necked turtle (Chelodina mccordi), Indonesia
Southern speckled padloper tortoise (Homopus signatus cafer), South Africa
Chinese three-striped box turtle (Cuora trifasciata), Northern Vietnam &China
Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), China and Vietnam
Arakan forest turtle (Heosemys depressa), Myanmar
Madagascar big-headed turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis), Madagascar
Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota), Myanmar
Yellow-blotched map turtle (Graptemys flavimaculata), United States
Sulawesi forest turtle (Leucocephalon yuwonoi), Indonesia
Painted terrapin (Callagur borneoensis), Southeast Asia
Flat-tailed tortoise (Pyxis planicauda), Madagascar
Geometric tortoise (Psammobates geometricus), South Africa
Philippine forest turtle (Heosemys leytensis), Philippine Islands
Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni), S.E. Mediterranean
Western swamp turtle (Pseudemydura umbrina), Australia
Mary river turtle (Elusor macrurus), Australia
Dahl 's toad-headed turtle (Batrachemys dahli), Colombia
Abingdon Island tortoise /Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone nigra abingdoni), Galapagos Islands
Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii), Central America
Bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii), United States
Ploughshare tortoise (Geochelone yniphora), Madagascar
More About Turtles
Saving Sea Turtles With a Lights-Out Policy in Florida
Girl Scouts Help Scientist Conserve Turtles in U.S.
Leatherback Turtles Near Extinction, Experts Say
Can Network of Colonies Save Asia's Turtles?
China's Taste for Turtle Fuels Asian Crisis, Groups Say
Turtles Smuggled to China as Food Find Haven in U.S.
National Geographic Magazine Photos:
1930 image of bather "riding" on the back of a turtle in Australia
David Doubilet image of a green turtle
National Geographic News Alerts
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