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Loggerhead turtle status goes from endangered to vulnerable

EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission

Globally, the loggerhead turtle is now listed as vulnerable. The 10 loggerhead subpopulations have been assigned to categories ranging from “Critically Endangered” to “Least Concern”, representing in most cases a change from the “Endangered” category to which the species as a whole was assigned in the previous assessment in 1996.

The recent assessment was completed by the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, a global network of sea turtle experts. This is the second sea turtle species after the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) that has been assessed at both the global and subpopulation levels using IUCN Red List Criteria. Red List assessments at the subpopulation level are much more meaningful for conservation planning than those done solely at the global scale, especially for wide-ranging species like sea turtles.

 A loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). © Mito Paz / Marine Photobank

A loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) ©Mito Paz / Marine Photobank

The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria represent one approach for assessing and comparing the conservation status of very different species, with a specific aim to identify species and subpopulations facing imminent or high risk of extinction globally based on past, current, and expected future conditions and anthropogenic factors.

Loggerhead subpopulations that have been newly listed in the categories “Near Threatened” or “Least Concern” indicate that those subpopulations are not at imminent/high risk of extinction. However, this evaluation is based on their present situation, which takes into account the results of past conservation efforts, many of which have been in place for decades. In this respect, the current status of these subpopulations represents a measure of the success of past conservation efforts.

For this reason, these subpopulations need to be considered to be conservation-dependent. Any decrease of the current conservation effort would very likely be detrimental. Indeed, it is only because of such prolonged conservation efforts that some loggerhead subpopulations are now being categorised as “Near Threatened” and “Least Concern” rather than higher categories of threat like “Vulnerable,” “Endangered,” and “Critically Endangered.”

Red List assessments are updated regularly to reflect the most current and best available data, and as such the Red List status of loggerheads may change with time. All the loggerhead subpopulations must be monitored and studied further in order to assure that conservation strategies and interventions are adjusted to respond to possible future changes.

Based on the present state of knowledge, all loggerhead subpopulations are in need of intensive conservation measures to improve or to maintain their current conservation status.


To find out more about sea turtles, read: Ninjas of the Deep

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