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Stop the Slaughter, Protect U.S. Turtles

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Originally Posted: May 1, 2012

Stop the Slaughter, Protect U.S. Turtles

[Ed. Note: Celebrate World Turtle Day 2012.]

FROM Center for Biological Diversity

ACTION

Millions of wild-caught freshwater turtles are exported to Asian food and medicinal markets each year.

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose and actively lobby to list U.S. freshwater turtles under CITES to require adequate documentation and by ensuring that trade in turtles is contingent on their survival. Export permits for species listed on Appendices I and II are issued only if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.

Sign an online petition:
http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10334

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
ATTN: FWS-R9-IA-2011-0087
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., M.S. 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203 
phone (703) 358-1729 

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

The United States is a key player in the international turtle trade, exporting millions of live, wild-caught turtles each year. Most turtles harvested in the United States are exported to supply food and medicinal markets in Asia, where turtle consumption rates have soared and native turtle populations have already been drastically depleted.

Scientists warn that freshwater turtles cannot sustain any significant harvest from the wild without a population crash. Wild collection for meat and pets is a leading cause of turtle endangerment in the United States.

Listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species would help remedy this situation by requiring adequate documentation and by ensuring that trade in turtles is contingent on their survival. Export permits for species listed on Appendices I and II are issued only if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.

Thus I am writing to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose that the following freshwater turtle species be included in Appendix I or II:

-- Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)
-- 13 species of map turtles (Graptemys spp.)
-- Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata)
-- Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
-- Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

Each of these species is exported for their meat or for the pet trade, and wild collection could hurt the species. Commercial collecting of wild turtles also intensifies the effects of water pollution, road mortality, incidental take from fishery devices, and habitat loss, which are already contributing to declining turtle populations.

Please act now to stop unsustainable international trade of these native freshwater turtle species. 


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