Unfortunately, very few turtle species are thriving in the wild. Of the 7 Marine Turtle species 6 are on the Endangered Species list, as are many of the freshwater turtle and tortoise species. Most species of turtle are threatened by egg collection harvesting of adults for meat, disturbance at nesting beaches, and incidental mortality (bycatch) by fishing fleets.
Yellow mud turtles (Kinosternon flavescens) are a non-threatened turtle species. They are small and olive-colored, and are typically found in ponds, cattle tanks, lakes, canals, ditches, and other slow-moving waterways. They are found in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.
Although green and leatherback sea turtles are endangered, they have increased in number significantly over the past two decades in Florida. Loggerhead turtles also appear to be increasing in number, but it is too soon to tell if they really are making a comeback. According to Anne Meylan, state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission senior research scientist, “Even taking in this year, there is still strong downward decline at all index beaches over the long term.”
Some common species of turtle, like the eastern painted turtle, are doing well. Marine turtles, as mentioned, are in trouble, but not all turtles are in trouble. Snapping turtles, as well, seem as common as ever.
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