Turtles Are at Risk Globally

Globally, the risk to turtles is reaching crisis proportions. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists 71 of 307 named turtle species (23.1%) as critically endangered or endangered and a further 57 (18.6%) as vulnerable. These numbers only represent the species that meet the IUCN criteria; there are many more species listed as being at risk at the local, state, provincial, and national levels. For example the United States Endangered Species Act lists six turtle species as endangered and a further eight as threatened and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) lists five turtle species as either threatened or endangered and a two as species of special concern. The threats are varied and include the loss of habitat through development, increases in road mortality as the areas within and around turtle habitat are developed, and collection for the pet trade or as a source of food.