Image: Radiated Shell Tortoise

Chelonian Crisis

Raising awareness of the threat to turtles

More than half of the 300+ turtle and tortoise species face extinction, through threats to habitat and illegal pet and shell trade.

The natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving them to extinction. The beautiful patterns of the turtle shells mean that the illegal shell trade is still strong; scientists estimate that hawksbill populations have declined by 90 percent during the past 100 years. But one of the biggest factors affecting turtle decline is the vast amount of marine debris – plastic bags, bottles and balloons – which many turtles ingest thinking it is food. By reconsidering our patterns of consumption and waste on land, we could significantly reduce this threat to the water creatures.

"There is no vertebrate group facing greater survival problems today"
Turtle Conservancy
Image: Hexagonal cells form the turtle shell