Farming and logging are destroying the habitats of the world's reptiles, putting nearly one in five in danger of extinction, reports AFP. The new study—in which 200 experts examined 1,500 species of snakes, turtles, lizards, crocodiles, and other reptiles—claims to be the most comprehensive made of the world's reptile populations. Of those reptiles at risk, more than 10% are critically endangered, 41% are endangered, and the rest are considered vulnerable. Freshwater reptiles are particularly at risk, with one-third estimated to be close to extinction, especially freshwater turtles.
"The findings sound alarm bells about the state of these species and the growing threats that they face," said one conservationist. One of the study's authors noted that many people wrongly assume reptiles to be resilient animals; in truth, "many species are very highly specialized in terms of habitat use and the climate conditions they require for day-to-day functioning. This makes them particularly sensitive to environmental changes." (Read more conservation stories.)