— There's a new best/worst places to live list – but this one is for endangered sea turtles. Experts on Thursday published a study showing that half of the worst places are on beaches in the Indian Ocean. As for the best beaches, most are in Australia, Brazil and Mexico.
India was singled out as having the biggest concentration of worst beaches. Female sea turtles bury their eggs in beach sand, creating a natural incubation system that takes about two months.
"This paper is a wake–up call for the authorities to do more to protect India's sea turtles and their habitats to ensure that they survive," B. C. Choudhury, a Wildlife Institute of India official and study contributor, said in a statement.
Experts have long known that six of the seven species of sea turtles around the world were threatened with extinction, but the study for the first time provides a guide for strategizing where to push for protections.
"This framework will help us effectively target our conservation efforts around the world," said Bryan Wallace, a Conservation International scientist and lead author of the study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS One.
The most significant threats to sea turtles are the accidental catch by fishermen going after other species, and the harvesting of turtle eggs for food and turtle shells for artisan products.
The study listed these populations as the most threatened:
These populations were listed as the healthiest: