Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Will turtles crawl off into the sunset?

Turtles, an ancient and virtually ageless species, are facing the potential for extinction.

According to a fascinating article in the New York Times,

Turtle habitats are fast disappearing, or are being fragmented and transected by roads on which millions of turtles are crushed each year. “There’s no defense against that predator known as the automobile,” Dr. Gibbons said.

Researchers estimate that at least half of all turtle species are in serious trouble, and that some of them, like the Galapagos tortoise, the North American bog turtle, the Pacific leatherback sea turtle and more than a dozen species in China and Southeast Asia, may effectively go extinct in the next decade if extreme measures are not taken. “People love turtles, people find them endearing, but people take turtles for granted,” Mr. Cover said. “They have no idea how important turtles are to the ecosystems in which they, and we, live.”

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