Action Timeline

2004 – The Center petitioned to list the Cagle's map turtle, a rare riverine turtle that survives only in the Guadalupe River system in Texas and is threatened by collectors for the pet trade, under the Endangered Species Act. This species had been placed on the federal candidate list in 1977 but was removed in 2006.

2007 – After Center allies petitioned Texas to ban all commercial harvest of freshwater turtles, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department voted to end commercial harvest in public waters — but continued to allow unlimited commercial harvest of seven turtle species from private waters.

March 27, 2008 – The Center filed emergency petitions with Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas requesting a complete ban on commercial harvest of freshwater turtles, in an effort to end unsustainable harvest and stop the export of contaminated turtles to international food markets.
May 5, 2008 – In response to the Center's March 2008 petition, the state of Oklahoma enacted a three-year moratorium on the commercial harvest of turtles from public waters to allow time for studying the status of its wild turtle populations, the effects of commercial harvest, and the potential contamination of turtles sold as food.
March 11, 2009 – The Center organized a coalition of two dozen conservation and health groups and filed emergency petitions with eight midwestern and southern states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee) to end the unsustainable and unhealthy commercial harvest of freshwater turtles.

April 2009 – In response to the Center's March 2008 emergency petition, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned most commercial harvest of wild freshwater turtles from both public and private waters. South Carolina passed a turtle harvest bill somewhat restricting harvest and export of wild turtles.

August 2011 – The Center filed a petition and activated our membership to request protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Flora and Fauna for 20 species of native freshwater turtles — the alligator snapping turtle, spotted turtle, Blanding's turtle, diamondback terrapin, three species of soft-shell turtles and 13 species of map turtles.

January 25, 2012 – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board of Directors unanimously approved its first-ever state rules regulating the commercial collection of wild freshwater turtles.

2010 – The Center and allies petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Barbour's map turtleunder the Endangered Species Act.

2011 – The Service determined that the turtle “may warrant” protection as an endangered species.

September 13, 2012 – After the Service failed to take the next required step on protecting the Barbour's map turtle, a 12-month finding, the Center filed a lawsuit against the agency.

November 9, 2012 – In response to the Center's 2011 petition, the Service announced that it would propose three species of U.S. freshwater turtles for protection at the2013 meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Thailand.

July 27, 2016 –  Iowa wildlife officials proposed to restrict collection and killing of four species of wild turtles. The regulations, if finalized, would impose seasons, daily bag limits and possession limits for common snapping turtles, painted turtles, spiny softshells and smooth softshells.

August 24, 2016 – The Center for Biological Diversity and Great Rivers Environmental Law Center petitioned the Missouri Department of Conservation to end commercial collection of the state's wild freshwater turtles. 

January 4, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries denied our scientific petition, filed with the Gulf Restoration Network, to protect 20 turtle species from unlimited commercial trapping and sale. 

May 11, 2017 – The Center and several Oklahoma-based environmental organizations petitioned the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to end commercial collection of the state's wild turtles, at a time when turtle trappers could legally collect unlimited numbers of eight turtle species (including common snapping turtles, softshells and red-eared sliders) from waterways on private lands.

May 31, 2017 – The Center and several Texas-based conservation organizations petitioned the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to end commercial trapping of the state's wild turtles. 

Big Bend slider by JerryOldenettel/Flickr