Though naturally endowed with a heartwarming smile on their faces, the fate of the Burmese roofed turtles has been far from uplifting. Only 20 years ago, the giant Asian river turtle, characterized by its bug-eyed, smiling face, was thought to be extinct by conservationists, following decades of habitat loss, fishing, and overharvesting.
In 2001, however, one Burmese roofed turtle was spotted in Myanmar, fuelling new conservation efforts which as of now have increased the population of the critically endangered species to 1,000 turtles.
“We came so close to losing them. If we didn’t intervene when we did, this turtle would have just been gone,” Steven Platt, a herpetologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told The New York Times.
Turtles and tortoises are among the most vulnerable animal groups on the planet, with about half of the total 360 species listed as threatened. That’s why, here at The Optimist Daily, we’re always elated to share such celebratory conservation achievements with you.