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Reptiles Extinction Warning From IUCN Experts
Nearly one in five of the world's reptiles is facing extinction, experts have warned.
The first global assessment of species including crocodiles, lizards, snakes, tortoises and turtles, estimated 19% of them could die out entirely.
Around 12% of those under threat are considered to be critically endangered, meaning they are at the highest risk of extinction.
The study is featured in the journal Conservation Biology.
Man-made habitat loss and being killed by people are the biggest threats to reptiles, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said.
Philip Bowles, from the IUCN Species Survival Commission, said: "The findings sound alarm bells about the state of these species and the growing threats they face.
"Tackling the identified threats, which include habitat loss and over-harvesting, are key conservation priorities in order to reverse the declines in these reptiles."
Reptiles in freshwater habitats, the tropics and ocean islands are under greatest threat, with 30% of freshwater species estimated to be facing extinction.
The study warned that half of all freshwater turtles, which are threatened by national and international trade as well as threats to their habitat, are at risk of dying out.
Although land reptiles are at a lower risk, species are often restricted to specific places or habitats and have low mobility, making them susceptible to human pressures.
In Haiti, six of the nine species of Anolis lizard are at a higher risk of extinction because of widespread deforestation on the island.
The report also highlighted that three critically endangered species of lizard may be extinct, including a jungle runner lizard, Ameiva vittata, which has only ever been recorded in one part of Bolivia.
The lizard's habitat has been virtually destroyed, and two recent searches for the species were unsuccessful, the experts said.
There are known to be more than 9,000 species of reptile on Earth, first appearing around 300 million years ago. Experts said they play vital roles in ecosystems, as both predators and prey.