A new study in the open access journal “Tropical Conservation Science” has uncovered a few instances of ‘gap species’ in turtle families of Africa. Gap species are species that are recorded in one country or another, but not in countries who are right next to each other. There are multiple reasons that many be possible for this occurrence.
- Gap species may exist due to a lack of data, a change in ecosystems, or human impacts.
- In Africa, due to a lack in resources and sufficient surveying, species of turtles may exist in a country where their presence is yet to be recorded.
- Other possibilities for the existence of gap species are changes in natural habitat or the use of the land by humans. It is these things that can lead to an extinction in local populations of certain species.
- Researchers found that most of the gap turtles were large species, which tells us that this occurrence may, in large, be a result of the bushmeat trade – or hunting the turtles for food.
- The issue of fragmentation also may play a major role in not only the increase in turtle gap species, but also the decrease in number of many species of the area and around the world.
- Conservation plays a very important role int the long-term protection of animal habitats and ecosystems of the world. Conservation of these gap species may be able to ensure their survival in for generations to come.