10 Most Endangered Turtles on Earth

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Image: Peter Paul van Dijk

Red Crowned River Turtle

The freshwater turtles of this earth are plunging into extinction thanks to loss of habitat, pet trade and being caught for food. Dr. Peter Paul van Dijk, Director of Conservation International’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program said: “The key problems these animals are facing are changes to their habitats – in particular because of the damming of the rivers where they live for hydro-electricity, on top of hunting for food and a very lucrative trade in rare turtles as pets.”

He continued: “More than 40% of the planet’s freshwater turtle species are threatened with extinction – making them among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. Their decline is an indicator that the freshwater ecosystems that millions of people rely on for irrigation, food and water are being damaged in a manner that could have dire consequences for people and turtles alike.”


Image: Jennifer Howeth

10. Coahuila Box Turtle

These turtles are called box turtles because the front and back sides of their shell close up just like a box. Most species live on land, but this one is permanently in fresh water in the springs and marshes of Cuatro Cienegas in northern Mexico, a desert oasis that is under threat thanks to continued pumping of water for agricultural as well as residential use. In addition, much of the land is being converted to agricultural use.

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Image: Peter Paul van Dijk

9. Annam Pond Turtle Mauremys annamensis

This species only lives in central Vietnam and after intense hunting and collecting for the food trade in China in the ’90s, only a handful of Annam pond turtles are left. On the good side, there are many in captivity and many captive turtles have been reintroduced to the wild.

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