Reptiles! Surely, most of you squirm when you even hear about them. But however despicable they may look, they have a major role to play in sustaining the ecological balance of our planet. After all, ecological balance is the sole reason for sustainability of life on the Earth. Many reptiles have been attacked, poached, and killed for various reasons.
Crocodile skin is used for making leather bags and purses for the chic look they add on the accessories. Some reptiles (like snakes and turtles) are served as delicacies in many parts of the world. Other reasons like deforestation and urbanization are also responsible for driving the already endangered reptiles towards extinction.
Have you ever thought what would happen if these reptiles are numbered or get extinct in due course of time? Yes, we all know that they would make an entry (or late entry?) into the endangered species of reptiles list. But the serious concern posed here is every life on Earth is bound to get affected slowly but definitely due to a disturbed ecological cycle.
Threatened and Endangered Reptiles
Green Sea Turtle
Found in the tropical and subtropical seas (predominantly in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans) around the world, this beautiful sea turtle is heading towards extinction.
Of the existing 6,000 Komodo dragons (approximately), only 350 are females. This is definitely an alarming sign, and it is not clear as to how much this factor can impact the population of these gigantic lizards. Environmental factors like forest fire and volcanic eruptions are a major threat to this species.
Whereas, Brother's Island tuataras are found only on Brother's Island off the coast in the Cook strait. Their population is about 300, but steadily decreasing due to habitat loss. Also, they are quite a prey for predators like weasels, badgers, and rats.
Ghariyals belong to croc family, and are native to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. They have a long narrow snout and are equipped with sharp teeth. Today, there are only 1,500 ghariyals, and a lot of initiative is being taken to protect this species of crocodiles.
Cuban Boas live on their sole ability to smell things around them. Hunting, fire accidents, and natural disasters like cyclones are a potential threat to these species. The Prague Zoo has started a European Breeding Program (EBP) to protect this snake from perishing.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Hawksbill sea turtles are medium-sized marine turtles with a hawk-like appearance. A small head with a distinctive hawk-like beak and flippers with two claws define their unique appearance. Most of them feed on sponges and thrive on the coral reef community. However, a significant decline in their numbers have made them endangered species.
Poaching hawksbill turtles for their shells, degradation of their nesting habitat, watercraft strikes, and marine pollution are tangible reasons for reducing their numbers. The Caribbean nations are taking efforts to protect the nesting beaches of these turtles.
- Alabama Red Belly Turtle
- Culebra Island Giant Anole
- Peurto Rican Boa
- Virgin Islands Tree Boa
- Monito Gecko
- St. Croix Ground Lizard
- Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Just because they have a garish appearance (some even grotesque in appearance) does not mean they are monsters. With these reptiles heading towards extinction, it is us who will finally suffer the dire consequences of an imbalanced ecology.
Humans and animals should coexist, and that is the rule of nature. So say NO to poaching and animal cruelty and YES to animal rescue. After all, every creature has its right to survive.