Study finds at least 2,000 reptile species facing extinction

i24NEWS

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A taxidermist prepares a stuffed snake to be displayed at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 22, 2017.
AP Photo/Oded BaliltyA taxidermist prepares a stuffed snake to be displayed at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 22, 2017.

'Climate change is expected to have significant effects on reptiles. We still have a lot of work ahead of us'

Some 2,000 reptile species on Earth are facing the threat of extinction, according to an international study involving researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

According to the findings, 30 percent of forest-dwelling reptiles and about 14 percent of those living in arid areas are under threat of extinction. The assessment also found that 58 percent of all turtle species and 50 percent of crocodile species are in danger of becoming extinct. 

Researchers pointed out that, if all of the 1,829 species of turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and snakes do become extinct, the world would lose a cumulative wealth of 15.6 billion years of evolution. 

MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP
MENAHEM KAHANA / AFPAn Israeli ranger inspects a spiny-tailed lizard near the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat, on January 12, 2019.

The comprehensive study, published in the Nature journal, was conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and included 52 researchers from around the world, including Prof. Shai Meiri of TAU and Dr. Uri Roll of BGU.

“In general, the state of reptiles in the world is bad,” said Prof. Meiri. 

“The biggest threat to reptiles is the destruction of their habitats due to agriculture, deforestation, and urban development,” he added.

In the first international study of its kind – assessing the status of over 12,000 reptile species worldwide – Meiri suggested that it will enable researchers to understand the conservation needs of threatened species and find solutions. 

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But Dr. Roll noted that many unknowns still remain: “We still lack a lot of information about the various risks facing reptiles."

"For example, climate change is expected to have significant effects on reptiles. We still have a lot of work ahead of us," he said.

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