Saving Turtles by Taking Them off the Menu

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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

News Stories
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

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