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Approximately 42,000 threatened sea turtles are killed around the world each year -- and that's counting only the ones captured legally, according to a new study from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.
The data shows that legal hunting of sea turtles is allowed in 42 countries or territories, including Australia, Japan and Mexico. Papua New Guinea is said to be responsible for more than 36 percent of the legally taken turtles every year.
"Since 1980, we estimate that more than 2 million turtles have been legally taken in these countries," the study's authors wrote.
All seven species of marine turtles are considered threatened in the wild. The green turtle -- more than 37,000 of which are reportedly killed legally each year -- is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature; while the World Wide Fund for Nature says that the leatherback turtle is critically endangered in certain regions of the world.
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