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Four U.S. Freshwater Turtles Receive International Trade Protection

WASHINGTON— Coinciding with World Turtle Day, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule today to regulate and monitor international trade of common snapping turtles and three softshell turtles. The rule, which responds in part to a 2011 request from the Center for Biological Diversity documenting the harms of the turtle trade, is designed to curb overexploitation of these freshwater turtles for Asian food and medicinal markets. It adds the turtles to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“I’m so happy to see the United States taking this important step to save our freshwater turtles,” said Jenny Loda, a biologist and attorney with the Center dedicated to protecting rare amphibians and reptiles. “Turtle traders are depleting U.S. populations at a frightening rate, so close monitoring of this trade is absolutely necessary.”

Most of the more than 2 million wild-caught, live turtles exported from the United States each year supply food and medicinal markets in Asia, where native turtle populations have already been depleted by soaring consumption. Adult turtles are also taken from the wild to breed hatchlings for the international pet trade.

Read more.

Learn more about the amphibian and reptile extinction crisis.

Contact: Jenny Loda

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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director
mstark@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 623-5252, ext. 315

Jessica Herrera, Media Specialist – Population and Sustainability
jherrera@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 260-17256

Steve Jones, Media Specialist – Oceans
sjones@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 305-3866

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species
aparker@biologicaldiversity.org, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking
psullivan@biologicaldiversity.org, (415) 632-5316

Tom Brown, Media Specialist – Public Lands
tbrown@biologicaldiversity.org, (520) 623-5252 ext. 326

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos
rmcspadden@biologicaldiversity.org

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; newly hatched snapping turtle by Elizabeth Sellers, Flickr