When protecting species, it's possible that times we empathise with the plight of the animal itself to the point where the bigger picture is lost. A panda or kakapo are iconic, and a rally call to save those particular animals, but what about less endearing creatures? When we're not dazzled by beauty, cuteness, or novelty, what then?
Perhaps a way to think about it is from an ecological perspective. Life, after all, to thrive has to be suited to the environment it lives in. And as no organism exists without some impact on the environment, it might be worth considering what role that organism plays. What flow-on impacts would extend from the loss of such a species? We could give a turtle a personality and wish to protect it that way, but its role as an underwater lawnmower is far more important because its part of the ecology that permits a sustainable environment.