Sixteen species are listed as Vulnerable, seven as Endangered, and one as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Because of their terrestrial habits, tortoises are especially vulnerable to human exploitation for food, traditional medicine, and the pet trade. Island populations have been especially prone to extirpation. Habitat destruction also takes its toll, especially for species inhabiting forested environments. Most species are legally protected by local countries, but illegal harvesting continues in most locales.
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