1 in 5 reptiles at risk of extinction

1 in 5 reptiles at risk of extinction


More than 1 in 5 species of reptiles worldwide, including the fierce king cobra, are threatened with extinction, according to a comprehensive new assessment of thousands of species published Wednesday in the journal character.

Of 10,196 reptile species analyzed, 21 per cent percent were classified as abundant, critically abundant or unprotected to extinction — including the iconic hooded snakes of South and Southeast Asia.

“This work is a very meaningful achievement,” said Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm, who was not involved in the study. “It adds to our knowledge of where threatened species are, and where we must work to protect them.”

Similar prior assessments had been conducted for mammals, birds and amphibians, informing government decisions about how to draw boundaries of national parks and allocate environmental funds.

NEWS: More than one in five of the world’s reptiles are threatened with <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/extinction?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#extinction</a>, according to the Global Reptile Assessment published on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ™.<br><br>➡️<a href=”https://t.co/2eEpUakz2i”>https://t.co/2eEpUakz2i</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/natureserve?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@natureserve</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/ConservationOrg?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@ConservationOrg</a> <a href=”https://t.co/tN8reUMnL3″>pic.twitter.com/tN8reUMnL3</a>


Work on the reptile study — which involved nearly 1,000 scientists and 52 co-authors — started in 2005. The project was slowed by challenges in fundraising, said co-author Bruce Young, a zoologist at the nonprofit science organization NatureServe.

“There’s a lot more focus on furrier, feathery species of vertebrates for conservation,” Young said, referring to the perceived appeal gap. But reptiles are also fascinating and basic to ecosystems, he said.

Challenges faced by iguanas, sea turtles

The Galapagos marine iguana, the world’s only lizard alternation to marine life, is classified as “unprotected” to extinction, said co-author Blair Hedges, a biologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. It took five million years for the lizard to adapt to foraging in the sea, he said, lamenting “how much evolutionary history can be lost if this single species” goes extinct.

A dead green sea turtle washes up on the beach in the Khor Kalba Conservation save, in the city of Kalba, on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 1, 2022. Six of the world’s species of sea turtles are threatened. The seventh is likely also in trouble, but scientists without data to make a classification. (Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

Six of the world’s species of sea turtles are threatened. The seventh is likely also in trouble, but scientists without data to make a classification.

Worldwide, the greatest threat to reptile life is habitat destruction. Hunting, invasive species and climate change also present threats, said co-author Neil Cox, a manager at the International Union for the Conservation of character’s biodiversity assessment unit.

New paper alert! <br>A fifth of all <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/reptiles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#reptiles</a> threatened with extinction (&gt;1800 species). <a href=”https://t.co/LhYaqhCKqD”>https://t.co/LhYaqhCKqD</a> <br>A (1/n)


Reptiles that live in forest areas, such as the king cobra, are more likely to be threatened with extinction than desert-dwellers, in part because forests confront greater human disruptions, the study found.

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