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Biodiversity: Is Florida a global hotspot for reptile extinction?

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Freshwater turtles, like this specimen in Butrint, Albania, are facing serious threats. Bob Berwyn photo.

Freshwater turtles among the most threatened species

By Summit Voice

A recent far-reaching study of the world’s amphibians and reptiles finds that Florida is hotspot for environmental threats, with one of the highest concentrations of threatened reptiles in the world.

The new report highlights the need to address the global reptile extinction crisis: One in five reptiles is facing extinction from threats like habitat loss, overharvest and climate change.

“Florida is blessed with a rich diversity of lizards, turtles and snakes,” said Collette Adkins Giese, reptile-and-amphibian specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, threats like habitat loss from rapid development are continuing to push many of these rare reptiles to the brink of extinction.”

More than 200 experts from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission collaborated to study a random sample of 1,500 of the world’s reptile species. Globally, one in five reptiles is facing extinction. The study also flagged the rapidly deteriorating plight of freshwater turtles, estimating that 50 percent of these animals are at risk of extinction. Continue reading

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