The leaf-scaled sea snake qualifies as ‘Critically Endangered’ under IUCN criteria. This reef-associated snake, named for its unusually shaped scales, is known only from Ashmore and Hibernia Reefs, off the northwest coast of Australia.
Incidental catch and death in commercial prawn trawling fisheries appears to be the biggest threat to sea snakes. High catch rates are exacerbated by the high death rate of snakes caught in trawl nets. Even when retained aboard to recuperate, sea snakes seldom survive. Sea snakes may be more vulnerable to overfishing than other species because of their longevity and low reproductive rates. In addition, females appear to be caught more often than males.
This highly endangered marine reptile occupies a restricted range and probably has restricted dispersal, making it more vulnerable to extinction. Please sign my petition to bring attention to the plight of the sea snake and make people aware that better protection needs to be provided for these endangered animals. Thank you.
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